If you are like me, you are distraught by the events of the Orlando massacre that took place at Pulse Nightclub early in the morning on June 12th. However, distraught does not even begin to capture the emotions that I am feeling from this horrible event. It is a mixture of outrage, dread, and sorrow. Even then, those three words do not contain the correct description, and I can not even begin to imagine what the individuals at the club that night and the families affected are feeling.

I have read news articles until I’m sick to my stomach with the issue, and the ensuing political debates about gun laws and trans bathroom issues just adds salt to the wound. People died. That’s all that matters. People were murdered and others are hurting badly. LGBTQ+ people were in a place where they felt and were assured to be safe from homophobia and transphobia, but were cut down in that very space by a man for those very reasons.

There is absolutely no denying that this monster of a human being was homophobic. His father stated that he was upset by the sight of two men kissing in Miami. To ignore this is to be no better than the killer himself. Do not take the identity of these victims away. This club was a self proclaimed ‘gay club’, a space for all LGBTQ+ people. Sunday was Latin night – and almost all of the victims are people of color.

To victim blame by saying this could have been avoided if the individuals in the bar were armed is to be no better than the killer himself. Ask yourself honestly if you think that having a hot and crowded dance club full of armed drunk people is a good idea. If you are in anyway sane, you will say it isn’t. Fifty people are dead and another fifty-three are wounded. They will likely never fully heal from physical or emotional scars. So while some go on about how it is a crime against the American people, get a reality check. This wasn’t about America, this was about killing gay people. The LGBTQ+ community has come so very far, but this is a reminder that we still have leaps and bounds to go before equality reaches an acceptable level. Homophobia is still very much alive and well. This massacre of queer lives and the praise that the shooter received on twitter by religious fanatics stands as testimony to the ongoing hatred that plagues the world.

Now is not the time for political debates and fighting; and I am guilty of both already. Now is the time to heal and regroup our strength. Now is the time to come together as one big queer community and family, help each other, uplift each other, be resilient, and get ready to defend our lives by saying enough is enough, do something!

Curtis Galloway
Curtis Galloway, 21, is a senior at Monmouth College in downstate Monmouth, IL. Curtis is from Benton, IL and has spoken before the Illinois legislature as a survivor in support of a ban on conversion therapy for minors.



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