The problem isn’t the guns. Nor is it mental illness. Nor is it poor security, drunkenness, or terrorism… Those things all play a factor, yes. But there is a cause that runs so much deeper. The reason we have guns. The reason we have mental illness. The reason we have terror. Hatred.
We live in a culture of hate. We live in a world where people are judged for being themselves. Where parents tell their children that it’s a sin to love someone of their own gender. A sin to define themselves as something other than what was put on a birth certificate. A sin to have sex with anyone before marriage. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people can no longer go into a bathroom without carrying a birth certificate on their person. A world where people are abused, beaten, shot, raped, killed… because they chose to love someone.
If the reports are true, the shooter in Orlando was gay himself. If that’s true, this crime was one of a self-hating person, who was raised in a world where people told him it wasn’t okay for him to be himself. If, instead, he had been shown love, and told “it’s okay to be who you are,” I almost guarantee this never would have happened.
Whenever something like this happens, people get up in arms about their rights, about their guns being taken away, about the real crime committed. We talk about how “crazy people will always have access to guns, regardless of the law,” and “the next time this happens…”
We have to do better than this. We have to aim higher than this. “Preventative measures” are not enough. Talking about the issues is not enough. “Better gun control laws” are NOT ENOUGH. We need to stop perpetuating a society that is allowed to hate people, or shame people for being who they are.
We need to start loving each other. For the love of God, just accept one another as being different from you. The fact that they’re different isn’t a threat to your existence. The whole world isn’t going to crumble around you. Everything is going to be exactly the same… but people will be happy. We won’t feel the need to pass laws because we feel unsafe. We won’t feel the need to stop people from buying guns or from shooting up schools. We won’t need to worry about children feeling so unloved that they take their own lives, or the lives of anyone else around them. We won’t need to worry at all.
Just stop. We don’t need to close our borders. We don’t need to run and hide away in our homes and shelter ourselves from the world. We just need to let people be. We need to shower each other with love.
One of the hardest things I’ve ever done is try to write this without breaking down in a fit of rage tears and “FUCK YOU”s at every person who continues to spew hatred… but that would only mean becoming an agent of hate myself. It’s so easy in times like these to judge, to pass blame, and run away. But it is our DUTY as humans to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “We are better than this. We can do SO MUCH better than this.”
I don’t personally know any of the people who were killed… but I could. I have hundreds of friends, of every possible sexual orientation, who might have found themselves at that club that night. I know people who go to clubs just like it, to unwind, to have a bit of fun, to relax… None of them are hateful people. They’re my friends. I’m proud to be friends with the people who aren’t afraid to be themselves.
I could be a victim myself. I’ve been to those clubs. I have a blast when I go to them. More recently, I was in a film that’s been playing at LGBTQ film festivals. Maybe that makes me a target. Maybe I’m choosing the “wrong” friends or the “wrong” roles; or I’m “giving people the wrong idea.” “You might get typecast.” Every possible fear that someone could have, someone has said it to me. I’ve been judged, I’ve been labeled, I’ve been lectured. Why? Because I identified with a character who was different from myself and chose to play him in a movie. Because I accept people. Because I’m not afraid of people “getting the wrong idea.” Because I’m not worried about whether or not people think I’m “different.”
When do we stop the hate? When do we stop pointing fingers at others and look at ourselves? We are perpetuating this. We are all guilty. There’s no point in blaming each other, and there’s no point in wallowing in guilt. We have to step up. We have to move forward. We have to MOVE THE FUCK ON.
All I can say now is just… please. PLEASE. No more hate. No more judgment. No more fear. I can’t take any more of it. No more bashing the presidential nominees. No more bashing our families, our enemies, our friends, our co-workers, our classmates, our teachers, our mentally ill, our handicapped, our celebrities… NO MORE!
This isn’t just a gay issue. This is a HUMAN issue. This is about the safety and the good of your children, your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your friends… This is about our country. This is about our PLANET. We have SO much work today. I’m ready to start if you are.