Orlando: One Tired Gay Person's Perspective

I'm so blankety-blank-blank tired tonight.

I'm tired of people who "have mixed feelings" about my right to get married. I'm tired of people who don't understand what's wrong with working for a business that refuses to hire gays. I'm tired of folks who never darken the door of a church, but insist that their religious beliefs don't allow them to sell a wedding cake to two lesbians. I'm tired of people who are suddenly terrified that a trans person might enter a public restroom for any reason other than to empty their bladder. I'm tired of people who have friends "on both sides of this argument" and don't want to risk losing any of them.

And tonight, I'm really tired of people who don't get Orlando.

The man pulling the trigger of that assault rifle wasn't a terrorist. He was a cold-blooded murderer. He wasn't a scary "foreigner" who never should have been allowed into this country. He was a born-and-raised American. And he didn't commit an act of terrorism. He committed a hate crime. He saw two men kissing, bought an assault rifle, and ended the lives of forty-nine human beings for no reason except that they were gay.

I'm seeing interviews and reading feedback from politicians who talk about Orlando without ever using the word gay. This blows my mind. It reminds me of people who change "Black lives matter" to "All lives matter." Good grief, of course all lives matter. That's not the point. Can we not just get over our privileged white selves and show some compassion for black lives?

Tonight I'm especially tired of--here it comes--straight people who suggest that instead of praying that violence against LGBTQ people will end, we should pray that violence against ALL people will end. But here's the thing. When's the last time someone was murdered for being straight?

I've been very lucky. Nobody has ever shot at me or beaten me up.

Yes, my car has been egged, I've been followed and harassed, and some really ugly names have been hurled in my direction. I've walked out of restaurants because--apparently suffering from temporary invisibility--I couldn't get anyone to bring me a menu. Someone left gay porn under the windshield wiper of my car, which was parked right in front of my open office window, where I was working--alone--late at night. I woke one morning to find broken glass carefully spread across my doorstep. Store clerks have tossed my change onto the counter, rather than placing it in my open hand. I avoid using public restrooms when possible because I often get threatening stares from women who can't quite decide if I'm male or female.

Still, as far as I know, nobody has ever tried to kill me for being gay.

And ever since the Supreme Court decided that everyone, including gays, has a legal right to marry, I've been floating along on a nice, comfortable "Now everything will be okay" bubble. But that bubble burst last weekend.

I am a fairly well known, highly visible, openly gay person of ambiguous gender. And tonight, after Orlando, I am nervous. If you're not gay or trans, please don't pretend to know what that feels like. No offense, but you just don't.

What happened in Orlando was not just another act of violence. It was an act of violence against people who were gay--because they were gay.

Let's not insult the memories of the people who were murdered in Orlando by ignoring or dismissing that fact. They were gay. That's why they were murdered. Let's stop THAT violence.