Last Sunday, June 12th 2016, a gunman murdered 49 people for a part of their identity that I share with them.
I am a queer young woman. In spite of everything, I am not afraid to say that.
The recurring fear among many LGBT+ people this week is not a hard-to-reach conclusion: “It could have been me.” Or, “It could’ve been my friends, my family, someone I know and love.”
I don’t share this same fear. I’m a teenager, not yet completely out, and as such, I’ve never been to queer spaces or hung out with queer adults.
My fear is different. My fear is the shock and horror that comes with realising that someone hates me that much. That someone hates who I am so much that they would shoot me, that they would kill me and laugh while they did it. That there are people in this world who think I should be dead.
I don’t bully people. I don’t watch people bully other people without stepping in. I don’t share other people’s secrets. I don’t hurt animals. I don’t litter. I don’t abuse my privileges. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I don’t pressure other people into smoking, drinking, or doing drugs, and I don’t judge those who partake. I don’t rely on others to get me through life. I don’t borrow what I can’t return, and I don’t lend something I can’t do without. I don’t lie. I don’t hate. I don’t discriminate.
I am a good person.
I am also a bisexual person.
In some people’s minds, these things are mutually exclusive. These people want me dead.
As a queer young woman who tries her hardest to look for the good in all people, this was, is and will always be a hard pill to swallow.
It’s easy to brush it off. To say, “But you know they’re wrong, but you know you’re a good person, but you know you’re safe.”
Those 49 people knew that too, or they thought they did.
They thought they were right, and good people, and safe, until someone took their lives from them.
I am young. I am not ready to die, and neither were they. Neither are any of us.
I know I am right. I’m trying to be strong. Everyone knows that we are sad. This is not enough.
Being right doesn’t make them any less dead. Being strong won’t bring them back. Being sad won’t erase from the survivor’s minds the haunting sound of the gunman’s laugh.
Being brave is what will create the change we need. I’m being brave right now, posting this on the internet for all to see, trying to create the change I need to feel safe again.
To those who want to question my identity:
My ability to love someone is one of two things: firstly, it is a part of me that is beautiful and pure and won’t be tainted by anyone’s hate or oppression.
Secondly, my ability to love someone is none of anyone’s fucking business.
Turnbull, Shorten, I’m talking to you:
I am going to marry the person of my dreams. I have a right to marry the person of my dreams. No one, not even you in your fancy office with your privilege and your power, will stop me from getting that. I am not a second-class citizen.
Homophobes everywhere, this one is for you:
If you think that the LGBT+ community will settle down eventually, you are wrong. If you think that our fears will last forever, that they will divide us, you are wrong. If you think that in the face of adversity I will be any less proud of who I am and who we are, you are wrong.
We are strong. We are brave. We are proud.
As much as we might be hurt and afraid, you haven’t won.
And if you think for one single second that hate will ever win, you are wrong.