Try as I might, I cannot sleep. I cannot shut off my mind of the events of yesterday. A tear rolls down my cheek when I think of the massacre that happened yesterday and so it should. I cry and grieve for the lost at the Pulse Night Club. I let the tear flow freely as I mourn the brothers and sisters so brutally taken away. They died far too early. They died because of someone else’s hatred. They died for who they were, namely, LGBTQ persons and allies. They need not have died at all.
Our society has become one in which mass shootings have become commonplace: Columbine, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Boston, Paris and London just to name a few. All done in the name of a cause, a religion, or just perceived injustices. They wish to make a statement, or to cause terror and to make us afraid.
Some of us are afraid. We can no longer find security among our own community. Someone took that away. There are no longer safe havens.
You meant to make us cower in fear. You meant to silence us with dread. You failed. You did the opposite of what you intended. Although we may be frightened, you made us stand united.
I am a prime example. I am not much of an activist and I have had my share of intimidation and fright. Once because I am disabled and once for being gay. In both scenarios, I felt unsafe, fearful and afraid. While walking in the hood, a man on a bicycle heckled me and he hassled me. He called me a ‘Crip,’ and he kept harassing me until I ducked in the gay book store for shelter and I hoped he would not follow. Thankfully, he did not, and he was not around when I exited the store. Another time, also in the hood, I was walking to the pub. It was getting dark when a strange looking man asked if I was gay. I got a bad vibe, so I continued onward without a word. Luckily, nothing came of it, but it still caused my heart to speed up.
So yes, I may not be the bravest; however, I refuse to hide. I refuse to give in. I maybe only one person, but if I am willing to step forward, then you can bet others will too. We will unite and if we need to we will fight for what is right. We wish acceptance, we wish to feel safe especially in our neighbourhoods, and we wish to have the same rights as anyone else.
They say, ‘Love defeats hate,’ but I do not see it. Do you?
─Robert Confiant 13 June 2016