No, I’ve never been to Pulse in Orlando. I moved away from the Orlando area nearly a decade ago, and when I visit, I rarely have time to visit downtown at all.
But I’ve heard good things about Pulse, and if I was back in Orlando and had a chance to go, I would. Not only because it sounded fun, but because, being part of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I would have been a person who would have likely called Pulse a safe haven of sorts.
There, I’ve said it. Not that I’ve ever really hidden the fact that I am not straight…it’s just not something I often state in a public forum. Not for any bad reason, not because I’m trying to hide it, but rather because it’s a part of me, it’s who I am, and I don’t think I should have to constantly explain that. I believe that my general opinions (which I’m not shy about sharing) and even at times my writing show who I am well enough.
But right now, this is different. I woke up yesterday morning and the first thing I saw was a post from a friend in Orlando, someone who frequented Pulse, telling everyone he was okay. I saw that many of my friends had already used the safety check-in feature on Facebook, and seriously, I have never been happier that that feature exists, even if I don’t like that it has to exist in the first place.
Unfortunately, as yesterday wore on, it was impossible to ignore the articles, the cries for help from those who wanted to find missing friends or family members. Especially when one of those missing people is a friend of a friend. Not someone I’ve ever met, but a beautiful young woman who went to Pulse Saturday night and was confirmed dead early this morning. My heart goes out to those who know her, as it does to everyone who is missing or mourning a loved one after this truly horrific event.
Let me get this straight: I don’t care what the killer’s motives were. I don’t care whose name he is working under or apparently working under or whatever the newest news about that is. I care that this was a terrorist attack no matter WHO he was, and one that specifically targeted Orlando’s LGBTQ+ community. As an acquaintance of mine said, “These people are my people, and we are dying.” And then another person got pulled over on his way to the LA Pride parade with a car full of weapons. So that person got caught, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he existed, and it doesn’t make up for the fact that the terrorist in Orlando made it through our “gun control” system despite having been under FBI surveillance not once but twice, and it doesn’t make up for the fact that any citizen of this country is allowed to purchase a FUCKING ASSAULT RIFLE.
And it doesn’t make up for the fact that over a hundred people were killed or injured when that man burst into Pulse nightclub and committed an act so full of hate that it literally makes me sick to my stomach.
I wish I was in Orlando. I wish I could do more RIGHT NOW. I wish I didn’t have to make these wishes, because tragedies like this should not still be happening. Wake the fuck up, America. A large portion of your population was just directly attacked for who they are, whether they are LGBTQ+ or those who support their LGBTQ+ friends or family.
In the end, I don’t feel like anything I write about this will never be enough.
I’m a writer, and yet I somehow can’t find the right words to express how I feel about this tragedy.
My thoughts and prayers are with anyone who was directly or indirectly harmed by these events.