I was at an awe-inspiring union of two phenomenal women last night probably just a few hours before bullets sprayed mercilessly through a Gay nightclub in Orlando. The wedding was such a strong testament of true love, authenticity and how much we have overcome as a community. It was an alter ego themed wedding which in essence encouraged all of us to be whosoever we please. I was one of my many alter egos-Ghandroid- a well-dressed handsome character with sleek silver spectacles perfect for intergalactic travel.
During the ceremony there was of course touching and tear-jerking testimonies of love, friendship and commitment. I noticed my girlfriend holding back tears and many of her friends failed attempts to do so. Then one of the women’s words touched me to the core—amidst her lavish and lovely celebration- she acknowledged how we have been persecuted and said how many continue to be persecuted. She mentioned some people in our LGBT Community even face death. My mind went immediately to Jamaica my homeland where homophobia reigns and people from the LGBT Community are not free to be themselves. Just a couple weeks ago I saw Jamaican LGBT advocate and lawyer, Maurice Tomlinson, share a horrific story of two gay men being murdered in Jamaica as they slept. I was hurt to see the news but sadly far from shocked.
I woke up this morning feeling so good about the beautiful wedding; it was so loving, so freeing, and so inspiring. I said to my girlfriend that I particularly loved the acknowledgement of those who have suffered and those who continue to suffer. My mind traveled once again to Jamaica; little did I know that just hours after the wedding 50 people not all the way in my Jamaica but just a few hours from where I live in Florida had been brutally murdered in cold blood in a Gay club.
I got an early morning message from a friend, then a cousin and then a call from my favorite aunt: “Do you go to nightclubs?” she asked. I purposely avoid most mainstream current events but had to find my way to the media to read of this utter nightmare. I’m just so saddened, so devastated to hear of the horrific mass murder and just so shocked. I had imagined myself safe here in America, at least in most of America. I ache for the people who were in the nightclub last night- the panic, the pain, the chaos, the terror- I imagine like any nightclub it was dark and there was music playing….the very last thing anyone would expect is what occurred.
I volunteer as a LGBT advocate for equality and have not been concerned about my safety. I have had countless stares from countless strangers who appear not to like that I am gender nonconforming and or that I’m a lesbian but I have never felt that my life was in danger. Hearing of this tragedy is not just painful but a wake up call to be more aware of the hate that persists yes even here in America and to continue to work tirelessly for this community. May all those that perished never be forgotten and rest in peace and may all those impacted find strength and healing. #pulse #lgbt #lgbtq #lovenothate