June 17, 2016
Although this blog does not directly correlate with my road to #RIOmode, I find this issue too important to not talk about. So...
Orlando. Why do gay bars matter in a society that has come so far, and opened up so much? I live in Seattle, one of the most progressive cities in America. I can walk down the street holding hands with Sera, give her a kiss any time I want, go to any bar in the city, be accepted at once, and never think twice about it. But I will always choose a gay bar over another bar, because when I step inside I am home. In the words of fellow gay Seattleite Dan Savage, I find the truth.
Gay bars were born out of the LGBT community's unwillingness to succumb to the hate, discrimination, lies, and attempts to rob us of our joy, our love, our dignity, and our constitutional right to equality, and the pursuit of happiness. Inside those doors the walls we put up against co-workers, family members, ourselves and friends shed off us like sweat on the dance floor. The anxiety and paranoia of being found out find no space to breathe, leaving us with just ourselves. Our beautiful, vibrant, strong, fierce selves. Gay bars are not just a place gay people go to drink, to dance, to flirt -- we go there to just simply be.
I do not have the words to console people during the aftermath of this horrific hate crime committed against our community, but I do know it will not break us. Hate has never broken us, or this country for that matter, and it never will, but it has tried time and time again. So I beg of you in the LGBT community and our straight allies, do not be discouraged, do not hide, do not give in to fear. Stand up to hate, be counted as someone who fought for, and stood by the LGBT community, be someone who was unwilling to be anything other than who you are. Orlando, you are forever in my heart.