June 12th; Processing the Orlando Shooting

Originally posted on Ace Shades blog; Broken-Winged Gaurdian

Today I woke up thinking the only difference of today was that my parents would finally be returning from their vacation. As I awoke I let the dogs out and fed them breakfast for the last time (until I pet sit again) and went about picking up the house. Then the ordinary of the day shattered as I checked my facebook profile.

At first I was confused, not understanding why everyone was posting about being frightened and their hearts breaking. And then I saw it…an article explaining that there had been another mass shooting, this time at a gay bar.

The mass shooting at Pulse in Orlando Florida has been now listed as the worst attack since 9/11. Despite the effort of the police and the staff of Pulse trying to tell everyone to run there were 50 people killed and 53 injured. That adds to 103 but who knows how many people’s lives were effected by that one man who was so angered by the thought of homosexuality that he slaughtered innocent people.

My heart broke at this realization. It didn’t matter these people were thousands of miles from me; they were family. Incredible pain and anger tore through my heart as I read over the article about what happened and eyed the photos of the family members mourning their fallen loved ones.

For them the world had halted but for me it continued. My parents came home  and spoke of their trip and I went home and was greeted by my cat who quickly curled up in my lap as soon as I sat down.

As I combed my fingers over his soft fur and felt the vibrations of his purr I wondered how many pets were waiting for the arrival of their owners that would never come home due to this one man’s actions. How many would now be forced to find a new family because their family was gone?

That festered in to thinking about how many parents were now mourning the loss of their child or how many children were mourning the loss of a parent. To all these beings life would never be the same and, to a smaller extent, nor would my life.

I started to question if I really wanted to go to pride this coming weekend. What if someone tried to go after us next? There was already a mention that the police had detained an armed man going towards a Pride celebration in LA. What if we were next?

This subject was far to dreadful for me to continue to think about so I quickly turned on the tv, deciding on what to watch. ‘I will think about it later’ I told myself.

For some reason I picked the DVD recording of a Broadway performance of Shrek the Musical and I quickly popped it in and got comfortable on the couch with my cat.

As the movie played I couldn’t escape the thoughts of the shooting and started to realize that a song in Shrek the Musical actually fit and helped me process the shooting.

As the fairytale characters are arguing about what to do after being kicked out of Shrek’s land Pinocchio screams ‘None of this would happen if I was a real boy’ shocking everyone and causing them to look at him. A defeated Pinocchio looks down at the floor and says ‘Why can’t I be a real boy?’ the ginger bread man goes to him and starts the song ‘Freak Flag’.

‘Freak Flag’ focuses on the fairytale characters learning to take pride in being different and realizing that they were more powerful than their oppressor so could fight back.

It is the same with the GLBTQIA+ community. Our numbers rank far more than any hater could ever think of and united we can fight this hatred. Yes we are scared now and we have every right to be, but we will get through this as we have thousands of other times when hatred thought it had one.

So show your pride my family. Love who you love. Be who you are. We have existed from the beginning of humanity and we will continue to exist until the end. Hatred will never change that and united together we can snuff it out. So protect each other and remember we are family. We are united.

I stand with my family in Orlando and my family all over the world facing violence and hatred. Do not let hatred deceive you; you are not alone! We are here! No matter our ages, our skin colors, our languages, our religions, our abilities, or the distance between us, we are together! Let your freak flag wave!

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