I cried in my car on the way home listening to a young man who left Pulse just minutes before the gunman entered and destroyed lives. It was heart-wrenching to listen to him describe texting friends and waiting for replies that never came. He was young, the age of my son… he could have been my son. That is the way all of America needs to see this tragedy – they were all OURS and this horror was inflicted upon all of us. Two young men walked down the streets of Orlando in fear… a drag queen leaned in to whisper… ‘Happiness is the best revenge’. She was right.
We all need to take up this banner, much as the people of Paris did in the days that followed the attack on their city. Parisians have a certain ‘joie de vie’ that would not let them sit at home and mourn alone. They were out in the streets, talking, crying together, eating, listening to music and maybe even dancing. The translation of ‘joie de vie’ is joy of life… the LGBTQ community has that, too… we all need to embrace that ideal and stand together… it is interesting to me that we saw everyone changing their FB profile pictures to the French Flag or the I am UCC green pictures… but has ‘I am Orlando’ or ‘I stand with the LGBTQ Community’ or ‘I am LGBTQ’ been put on our pictures? Like it or not, for many Americans, that is still too much, and something we are grappling with as a country.
Once again, we need to not just tolerate, we need to embrace our diversity… it is what makes America great… find your greatness… ‘I am LGBTQ… I am Orlando… I am American, and you will not make me live in fear’ … Happiness (and loving one another) IS the best revenge!