As a gay man myself and someone very active and passionate about the inclusion and equal rights of the LGBT+ community, the Orlando shooting is something that would instantly make me take to all platforms to get into the centre of the conversation. However, the bubble that the alien brought with it hasn’t fully popped yet and when that atrocious homophobic attack happened I was still numb from our attack.
Before you continue to read – I am not comparing one pain to the other, one hurt being more than the other. These are just my musings from a very foggy area.
Whilst getting ready for work this morning I had Lorraine on the TV in the background (don’t judge) and was gently tuning in and out as I put my socks on, when an interview with Matthew Todd came on. He was talking about the link between mental health problems and sexual orientation, the prejudice and discrimination the LGBT+ community receive and how to build happy secure lives and relationships. Now I don’t normally turn to daytime chat-shows to be my reliable source on world affairs, but when discussing the Orlando shootings, my ears pricked up when Todd said “We live in a very cruel and unkind society…we need to be nicer to each other” and Lorraine remarked about the simplistic nature of that but the colossal change that that would bring if we all did that today!
I for one can normally be very quick to dismiss nonchalant blue-sky dreaming, but this remark made me think of the world we are living in and for a moment the alien’s bubble popped. For the past 4 weeks I’ve been angry and have wanted to get angry at someone for what is happening to my family – I can’t. My anger today, is not aimed at an otherworldly unidentified life-form, but at something which is a lot closer to home and for that reason makes it scarier – mankind.
WHAT THE F@%K ARE WE DOING??!!
There is already too much heartache in the world, why are we creating more?
My mam (and other motherships) has been told that her alien invasion is down to bad luck; no wrong choices or something which was avoidable, just bad luck. But the pain is still real, earth-shatteringly, core-shakingly real, with incalculable lifelong effects. Unavoidable tragedies like this are happening right now; all over the world, to all different kinds of people, in all different kinds of communities – unexpected alien invasions are not rare and they are non-discriminatory in who they attack. This is an awful reality of our world and people are fighting their own personal fights, whilst others do their best to prevent and stop future invasions.
With this as an unsettling status-quo, why and how could anybody think of tipping the scales beyond hope?
As children we are told of aliens, monsters and the bogeyman – horrific, fictional creatures to distance ourselves from the evils in the world, but we need to accept that the evil is closer to us, non-fictional and sometimes within us. We need to work together, globally to change this.
Why did he shoot?
Because he was homophobic? Because of his religion? Because of his upbringing? Because he was legally allowed to carry firearms? Because he was ashamed of his own sexuality?
All of these could have been changed and addressed and still can be. All of these reasons come from something man made and therefore the solutions come from us too…
Create inclusive environments, stand up against discrimination, fight other people’s corners, raise awareness, provide education on acceptance and understanding of identity, stop using religion (either as justification, blame or as a reason to be dismissive/passive) to bring unnecessary pain onto the earth, radically change the firearm laws we put in place, give support to those struggling to come to terms with who they are. I realise this could be categorised as the blue-sky dreaming I referred to earlier, but it is achievable, not instantaneous, but still achievable.
When an alien attacks a body, you acknowlege the problem, investigate the symptoms, and initiate a programme of action to treat the source, continue the support afterwards to ensure it does not return, and relentlessly strive until the alien has no hold and the person is as healthy as possible. It would never occur to anybody to do anything purposefully detrimental or malicious to that person in need. Perhaps we need to treat mankind’s body in the same way, because it is most certainly in need.
Until we can address the source, we can ease the symptoms by being nicer to each other in this “cruel and unkind society”. The love that I have seen in the aftermath of Orlando has been beautiful, uplifting, encouraging and life affirming. This kind of love has also supported our family in our hard time too from our close network. So I know how important and invaluable this can be. Never let it stop.
My love and deepest condolences to those who have lost their loved ones, to the community that is rebuilding itself, to my LGBT+ brothers and sisters who have hidden or checked themselves in a way they hadn’t done before and above all to those who lost their lives, simply for being themselves.
This must stop.
We Are Orlando
We Are By Your Side
We Are Together
PS. Goodness will always win. My mam won her first battle with the alien today! After a successful operation, the primary alien has gone and she is now resting, in preparation for the rest of this galactic war.
How can we fight aliens if we are already too busy fighting each other?