People want to blame this on religious ideology. That’s fine. Go ahead. When it’s necessary, I’ll blame Islamic fundamentalism as quick as I’ll blame Christian fundamentalism, because both exist every day. Both exist in hate crimes. Both result in deaths. All are disgusting.
But, let’s talk about what’s really going on here: whether it is a terrorist act via ISIS (Daesh) or whether it’s a random occurrence via mental health or easy access to assault weapons in the United States—it is a hate crime.
It is a hate crime that has sparked outrage, sadness, and anger across the country, but especially in New York City, where LGBT rights have always—always—been at the forefront of equal rights.
From 5th Ave and Park Ave, to bars on Greenwich Ave—all the way to Stonewall Inn in the West Village—tears and hugs and apologies have pulled us all together in solidarity as a community. We are together as one against hate—no matter who it comes from, no matter who it is against.
“I’m deeply saddened,” says Brandon Mabry, a frequent patron of Stonewall Inn.
“It’s a tragedy, but it’s not going to stop me from coming to [gay clubs].”
“This kind of act is trying to keep us from being who we are,” says Jorge Rodriguez.
I could stop here, and that would be enough, but I will let more New Yorkers talk.
“We’re all family,” says Remy Taylor. “It doesn’t matter if we’re gay, straight, Christians, or Muslim. It doesn’t matter if we’re black or white. We’re all family.”
It doesn’t matter where you go or who are you are—at some point, you will be scared for your life. Whether you are on a subway packed with people, in a bar full of friends, in a small town at a flea market where they’re selling unregulated bomb equipment (that’s another story, entirely)—it’s scary.
And despite all the recent outrage against the New York Police Department, against police violence everywhere (deservedly so)—the first people at Stonewall Inn, the first people there to protect the innocent and their rights—was the NYPD.
James Walters, Chief Counter Terrorism Officer of the NYPD, had this to say: “In light of the tragic events this morning in Orlando, FL, we have deployed our critical response team to several areas in the city,” he says. “We have come to one of the most iconic LGBT locations in the city, if not the world: the Stonewall Inn.”
“We’re here to reassure the public,” he says, “and the LGBT community—that we’re here to protect you.”
Like Taylor said: “We’re all family.”
And no matter what, we’re here for you.
We always will be. All of us.