As many people will know in the early hours of Sunday morning on 12th June one lone gunman opened fire in a gay club in Orlando, USA. Unfortunately his rampage took the lives of 49 innocent men and women as well as injuring 50+. After a few hours the police blew a hole in the wall and the shooter was killed.
I’m a lesbian. I’m gay. Whichever way you choose to look at it. So its not really a surprise that this really affected me. LGBT clubs are designed to be a safe place for LGBT and their friends to enjoy and feel like they are welcome, not judged.
The gunman was killed. There are questions about his motive, was it homophobia, was it terrorism? A debate occurred on Sky News where one of the participants walked off the live debate as they were not prepared to hear it was both. We aren’t going to know for certain because he has been killed, he won’t face justice. He won’t face the death penalty. He won’t be held accountable for what he did. He won’t be able to answer the questions about why?
He won’t be able to see the way the world has come together, LGBT and their allies to show love towards Orlando this week. To the families who lost their loved ones and to the many injured. LGBT communities have rallied together. Orlando has rallied together. Vigils have been held around the world.
Yesterday I had a day in London and knowing I was there I couldn’t not visit the London memorial to pay my respects. Flowers, candles and messages of love and support for the victims fill St Marys Churchyard in Soho. Outside some of the clubs there are smaller memorials. It was across the sea but it has affected us too.
June is pride month. Gay pride events around the world occur. And every year the debate is started again as to if we still need to have gay pride? We don’t have straight pride so why have gay pride? When attacks like this happen, when homophobia on this level, as well as smaller attacks such as a trans woman having bricks thrown at her whilst she walks to her local shop, when being gay is illegal in 76 countries still, then yes! We do still need gay pride. We still need to educate the ignorant. We need to show the world that love is love and it makes no difference according to the gender.
And so the LGBT community will keep fighting for equal rights, to have a voice, to show we are not outcasts. And we will continue to stand together through the attacks on our community. Because being gay is ok!