Today I am sad.
I am sad for Orlando. I am sad for the world. I am sad for humanity. I am sad that this beautiful country I have moved to and called my home for the past few years is seeing a day so ugly. I am sad that sides of beds will be left empty and cold. I am sad that some phones will keep ringing with no answer or calls back. Ever. I am sad that there will be empty chairs at dinner tables. I am sad that families and friends will forever live with holes in their hearts in the shape of the beautiful people that they have lost in the horrific tragedy of Orlando. I am sad that love, to some, has to look a certain way or have specific qualifications. I am sad that some may never be able to feel love, or anything else, ever again. I am sad.
Today I am hurt.
I am hurt that Muslims across this nation will undoubtedly receive more backlash because of one man's hate. I am hurt that people will use an act of homophobia to justify Islamophobia. I am hurt that this happened because these people were a part of the LGBTQ community, a community that helped raise me and taught me how to be kind, courageous, and accepting. I am hurt that we still discriminate. I am hurt that, to some, I am allowed to love a man, but my father is not. I am hurt that I have to watch my own mother cry in confusion about why people think they have a right to tell her who her heart can beat for. I am hurt because people are still not treated equally in this world. I am hurt that this took place in a safe haven and gathering spot for people who wanted only to sing, dance, and enjoy themselves. More importantly, a place where they could feel like they belonged and could escape their everyday stresses. I am hurt that human beings have to live in fear of other human beings stealing their lives because of what they believe in and who they love. I am hurt.
Today I am angry.
I am angry that there is so much talk on the news about building walls. I am angry that our first instinct is to point fingers. I am angry that recycled "prayers and thoughts" seem to be all that is ever done to change what is happening. I am angry that there have already been 133 mass shootings in the United States this year. I am angry that this happened during a month of pride and celebration. I am angry that the press puts a spotlight on the shooter when they should be focusing on the victims. I am angry that the leading politicians act more like reality television stars than decision makers for our country. I am angry that the politicians here are on the payroll of gun companies. I am angry that these mass shootings happen more often than I get to see my family. I am angry that this has become almost as common as the sun rising in the morning and the moon soaring high at night. I am angry that I cannot do more. I am angry.
Today I am confused.
I am confused on why some worry more about carrying weapons than about carrying each other. I am confused about how people on FBI watch lists can buy assault weapons, yet someone who is gay cannot donate blood to save the lives of their comrades. I am confused on how politicians can have the nerve to take thousands of dollars from the gun support groups and then tweet that they are sending "thoughts and prayers" to the families of the victims. I am confused on why we find it more important to keep people out of bathrooms than out of gun stores. I am confused on how this has happened so many times to people of all ages, colors, sexual orientation, and political parties -- yet no action is taken. I am confused on when this will stop. I am confused.
Today I am hopeful.
I am hopeful that people will start seeing more than grayscale in this world. I am hopeful that people will start to see in color. I am hopeful that people will stop putting money before love and power before a heartbeat. I am hopeful that one day politicians will have the courage to stand up to gun support groups and defend the people they've sworn to protect. I am hopeful that love, one day, will come without an asterisk. I am hopeful that one day there will be more hands in hands than hands in guns. I am hopeful that we will unite. I am hopeful that one day people will not judge and see people as people: not gay. Not straight. Not Muslim. Not Christian. Just a person. A person who can love whomever they choose in whatever capacity they choose, without the fear of running from anything or anyone. I am hopeful that one day this land will truly become the home of the free ... because today more than ever ... I have seen that it is, undoubtedly, the home of the brave. I am hopeful.