Sunday, June 12, 2016

50 tragic steps back in Orlando, 1000 steps forward in Kyiv

Today's Gay Pride parade in Kyiv (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
I'm numb with the tragic news coming out of Orlando last night.  According to reports, a lone gunman, in an act of vile hatred, last night around 2 am open-fired inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people and injuring dozens more before U.S. police shot him dead. 

In 2014, I visited Orlando with my partner Sam and attended a different gay nightclub called Parliament House one evening.  (I had to re-check the name today after hearing this horrific story.) 

Just last night, I went out myself with another friend here in Toronto to another gay nightclub.  This tragedy hits very close to the bone for me as I could easily imagine myself in such a place at 2 am.

Investigations into this horrible act of terror continue in the U.S.  There are reports the gunman was sympathetic to the evils of extremist religion.

I can only say that we should not take this tragedy and use it to gain political points or to marginalize or stigmatize religious moderates, be they Muslim or Christian or any religion.

On the other hand, those who promote hatred and violence, including those who do it in the name of their extremist religions, have blood on their hands today.

So too do those who fight for the easy distribution of assault rifles in the U.S.  The gunman last night reportedly used one, hence why the casualties of innocent people inside the Pulse nightclub were so high. 

As we struggle to comprehend this horrible action, let's celebrate the way the Orlando community and indeed all decent people of all sexual orientations might come together to mourn and move forward.

And let's ignore the conservative scumbags who will use this incident to whip up hatred against all Muslims, demand the greater distribution of guns and a complete shutdown of allowing Muslims into the U.S. (as no doubt Donald Trump will repeat, proving once again he's not a leader.)

Meanwhile, this story about Kyiv's Gay Pride march today gives me hope.

"Around a thousand people turned up on Sunday for Ukraine’s first major gay pride march which was held amid tight security measures..." 

Kudos to those brave activists and community members who are asserting their value as human beings amid a vile conservative culture. 

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