Shots fired. Life lost. It’s terror again. First it was France. Her history ingrained in me. The language that saturated me. The people who connected to me. That was the first time it hit. I felt helpless. I wanted to do so much, but could really do so little. Why do I sit back and observe? There must be something, anything. But if answers were there, I couldn’t find them.
The second time, it came home. My peers had been attacked, persecuted for living their lives as I do every day. I wondered how many times I had been in one of those bars. Memories flashed of happy nights, joyous nights, spent dancing with friends in a place where no one was afraid to be themselves. We all shared a bond those nights, even with those we’d never met. Because we all knew what it was like to not be yourself. We’re lucky to live in the time we do, free to marry whomever we love. But the shadows are still there. The stares, the unspoken rules, the cached expectations. We live with them, and many of us accept them. Life is easier that way.
As we grieve, let us not lose sight of what we’re due. Simple things: respect, safety, equality. These are things hate wants to tear from us. But so long as we stand with each other, it will be the one who hides in the end.