Like most, we're sad and disheartened by the attack this past weekend in Orlando. When I heard the news, a shudder went through me like a cold breeze on a spring day. The thought that someone could be so evil and destructive is simply beyond my comprehension. It made me realize we're all potential targets for someone that holds different beliefs and values. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families & friends as they move through these upcoming days, weeks and months and come to terms with this situation and the impact on their lives.
This incident has crystalized for me the enormous advances we've seen over the past few years with regards to gay rights in the United States. While there are still struggles, we now enjoy the freedom to live an open life and love who we want, the right to marry our chosen partner and the opportunity to build our families through adoption. This horrible event reminds us that the privileges we now enjoy have been hard fought. It should also remind us that not everyone supports us. And that to maintain our rights and freedoms we will need to continue fighting. As unsavory as it sounds, I imagine there are people that support this gunman who are rejoicing in this brutal outcome because they feel the LGBT community has gotten too much, too fast. We call this the Tall Poppy Syndrome - when someone's achievements are resented, criticized or attacked because their achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from the rest of the group. So what do we do now?
I'm not exactly certain how this event will affect my life. Maybe I'll be a bit more leery of unfamiliar people and places? Or perhaps I might think twice before going to crowded events or venues? Although what I do know is I'll hug my family a little tighter each evening. And there's another thing I know for certain: I will not stop living my life, being who I am and enjoying the freedoms and rights that have been bestowed upon me. I'll continue doing my part to build a better world and a brighter future for our beautiful little poppy, Jackson.