Yesterday morning I got a call from the Old Man, who had run out on an errand. He told me there had been a shooting in a gay night club in Orlando, and that possibly fifty people had been killed.
I watched what news I could find (we don’t have cable, so had to depend on our faltering digital antenna), and took note of the stricken face of the male news anchor on Fox News. Or NBC. I was flipping between the two stations; not sure which anchor I was looking at. The man was stunned, on auto pilot as he conveyed breaking news. Maybe he was sleepy, maybe he was stricken – I don’t know.
I think that’s how many of us felt; we are desensitized. I include myself in this “we;” how many tragedies can we watch without losing a little of our compassion?
But then, the photos of men holding each other for dear life, shedding tears of grief and fear. The young men who survived younger than my son, some of them – struggling to speak to reporters as they fight tears and shock. Such raw pain and shock.
I am new to the LGBTQ community – I’m a longtime ally but from a distance. Now I am the parent of a gay son. I have friends who are gay, but now it’s family. I am going to try to put the remainder of my thoughts down here in the first person. There is no third person because we are really fellow travelers in this world – all of us. Differences, boundaries, labels – they are artificial. We are all just people. Even the shooter, although I can think of nothing to affirm the shooter.
We who are men loving men, we who are women loving women, those of us who are on our own journey toward gender identity – and we who are straight and love another who is not straight, as a parent, child, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle – we are all people. There is no Other.
That’s all. I know this is not much in the way of an article – but it is what is on my heart. That’s all. I love my son, and I love Us. All of us.