Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Calling For Hope

On June 12, 2016 the LGBTQ Community was attacked in a horrid hate crime. Yes, hate. The Pulse Nightclub in Orlando Florida, a safe haven for the LGBTQ community, lost many of their brothers and sisters at the hands of a hate filled monster. I won't sprinkle sugar on this situation and call him a victim. He wasn't. 49 lives were stolen from this earth. 53 more were wounded.

Diverse Reader is a blog for the LGBTQ community and their allies. I work hip to hip, and link arms with some of the best writers in this genre.  I have been reading status', tweets, and blog posts of people trying to express their feelings. This community is mourning. They are afraid. They are also fighters and though their steps may falter, they will march on.

I reached out to some authors in this community and asked for their help. I wanted their feelings, their venting, but most of all I wanted their HOPE. It's hard during this time to muster it and not everyone was  able to do it because they were grief stricken. On top of the post for hope, I asked each of them to give me a charity that helps the LGBTQ community somehow.

Many people ask for great charities with in this beautiful community and I have to say, these authors have picked fine ones. Ones you should help out and help lift up the pride.

I want to thank these authors for taking the time to help find light in this dark time. I hope they feel it in the words of their colleagues and you all find it in your author's words.

AJ Rose

“Did I live? Did I touch the world?”

Eight words that give me pause every time I think of them. I cannot keep hiding, and in the wake of the Orlando shooting at Pulse, I am done doing so. The more people see we’re just like the rest of them, the less spectacle it’ll be, the less cause for pointing and sneering. Less cause for hate.

It has now come out that Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter, had been a regular at Pulse for three years prior to the shooting, and that he’d been on three different gay dating apps, exchanged messages with gay men about meeting up (though I’m not clear on if he ever did meet up with anyone). He told police he was killing people on behalf of ISIS and Hezbollah, two groups who are sworn enemies. That, to me, sounds like a man clinging to any reason for his hatred other than his sexuality, which maybe he was unable to reconcile. It seems to me like he was gay and hated himself, and therefore every other gay man, for it. What fosters that feeling?

Derision. Scorn. Public shaming. Persecution by religious and political figures. Things that come about when someone is publicly out, holding their partner’s hand, or otherwise obvious in their couplehood.

To counter that, despite how scared I am for the potential resulting discomfort and danger, I’m going to be out in public. This is the way in which I will do my part to touch the world.

CHARITY: Lost-N-Found Youth

Helena Stone

Hope in unexpected places

On Sunday my heart shattered along with the hearts of so many people around the world. A man had walked into a gay club and killed or injured more than a hundred people. Just when I thought things were getting better and that the acceptance of marriage equality in ever more countries meant we were moving forward, one evil lunatic threw us back into despair. The following day my husband and I flew home from Berlin and while we were waiting to board our plane a couple caught my eye. If I had to guess I’d say the two men were in their mid twenties. There was no mistaking the fact that they were together. It was in the small but significant gestures; one of them straightening the other’s hoodie, a quick stroke over an arm and the way their eyes followed each other and would light up when they caught each other’s gaze. They made me smile until the news I’d been following all day smashed into me again and I found myself scanning the other passengers looking for signs of disapproval or even anger or hate, only to find none.

Had I seen this same couple on any other day I probably wouldn’t have checked the other passengers. To me any happy couple, regardless of composition, is as cute as the next. Last Monday, after what had happened in Orlando the night before, that wasn’t the case. The fact that I felt compelled to check for trouble makes me sad, because love should never be confronted by anger. However, if I hadn’t felt compelled to check, I wouldn’t have noticed the lack of reaction from the other passengers, and I’m really glad I did see that. Because I needed the reminder that one lunatic with a semi-automatic rifle (or gun? I don’t even know the right terms for fire arms) does not equal a hate-filled world. And one day, in the not too distant future, the fast majority of people will be as indifferent to the interactions between couples of any description as my fellow passengers were.


SJ Frost

It’s incomprehensible. Even now, days later, my mind struggles to wrap around how an act of such demented hate can occur in the world…in the United States. Here in this nation of mixed cultures, isn’t diversity supposed to be celebrated? Isn’t our nation based on the very foundation of freedom? Maybe it was at one time, but it seems in this “modern” age, whether it’s forming asinine laws over who can use the restroom, to trying to stop two people in love from marrying, the fight for equality and individuality has become fiercer. And now, in this strike against the LGBT community, it’s peaked in the loss of so many innocent lives.
If you’re like me, you’re sickened and angry and heartbroken. I’ve been grieving for men and women I’ve never met, looking at their beautiful faces, hearing their names, seeing pieces of the lives they were living. Good lives. Special lives. Worthy lives. Lives worth remembering. And lives who have brought so many of us in this nation and around the world together to mourn as one society.
When I first learned of the tragedy in Orlando, I was horrorstricken. The world seemed more evil and hateful than it was just hours before. And that evil and hate had taken forty-nine innocent lives of people who wanted nothing but to dance, laugh, and enjoy life. Then the world and people began to react, and it was as if watching the most beautiful flower open its petals to blossom. Compassion, support, love, poured out, directed toward Orlando, the victims, their families, their loves ones. People shared and supported, opened their hearts, dug into their pockets to donate, and came together in solidarity.
It was one twisted man who committed this act of hate, but it’s been thousands of others have stepped forward to honor and do good by those forty-nine beautiful lives who were lost. The good in this world is greater than the evil. There’s still more love than hate. Love and good may walk more quietly, but when called upon, they will unite and shine through the deepest of darkness to let all those who grieve and hurt know, you’re not alone. We will stand by you, we will fight against the hate with you, and we will not back down until love and good triumph.

CHARITY:  Pulse Shooting Victims GoFundMe

V.L. Locey

The past few days have been agony for America. We've all suffered a terrible loss and we're lost, confused, and feeling as if the world knows nothing but hate. Please know that there is hope because there is love. Since the shooting at Pulse in Orlando, I have seen people in London joining to speak out against hate. I've witnessed the wonderful people of Canada coming together to show unity to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I've read about a Republican Lieutenant Governor telling the world that his heart has changed. Around the world and in our own battered country, there is hope. There is hope because there is love. With love in our hearts, we will defeat those who thrive on hatred and bigotry. With love in our hearts, we can overcome any darkness. With love in our hearts, we can change the world.

CHARITY: True Colors Fund

Joe Cosentino

The Republican members of our government blocked proposed legislation for assault weapon control, and proposed over two hundred bills this year to try to take away the civil rights of LGBT citizens/taxpayers and their families. The Republicans' candidate for president stated that if elected he will select Supreme Court justices to overturn marriage equality, as did his Republican challengers. Talking heads on Fox "News" spewed anti-gay rhetoric. The tax-exempt leaders of wealthy religions preached hate and discrimination from the pulpit and on their tax-exempt cable television channels. Organizations like the National Organization of Marriage and The Family Research Council spent millions of dollars to spread their message that gay families are not real families. This has spread homophobia and internalized homophobia. As the song goes in Sondheim's Into the Woods, "Careful the things you say, children will listen." However, Sondheim also wrote another musical featuring the song, "It's Our Time." Like that song, the future is ours! As a college professor, I can tell you that young people do not embrace the hatred, bigotry, and prejudice of the older generations. Regardless of their political or religious affiliations, the younger generation believe in equality for all, including sexual orientation and identity. As they grow older and the generations before them disappear, our country and indeed the world will be a more loving, accepting, and beautiful place. That's why I do fundraising for GLSEN (Gay Straight Student Alliance), where volunteers visit grade schools and high schools all over the country to educate and assist young people in accepting themselves and others in a safe environment where they can grow and flourish.


Barbara Elsborg

After the darkness, there will always be light.
Hope is the first snowflake to fall from a winter sky
Hope is the sun on your face on a cold day
Hope is new green leaves in spring
Hope is watching a kiss
Hope is waking in the morning to begin a new day
Hope is remembering with happiness and not sadness
Hope is what binds us in love
They have not died in vain
Love will prevail

CHARITY: Terrence Higgins Trust

Louis Stevens

Will who we love and what we do fade away
when we leave this world one day?
Is there some other life out there?
As long as you are there with me
I won’t even care

There is only one thing you should know
That the love we share will forever follow
Wherever life leads us, even to the unknown
I will always have
peace in your shadow

They say the future is our enemy
That time runs out indiscriminately
If I leave this world too soon
I’ll close my eyes and wait for you

There is only one thing you should know
That the love we share will forever follow
Wherever life leads us, even to the unknown
I will always be
safe in your shadow

When life’s pages runs out on me
The windows of my past close in
Still all my dreams reflect merely
The wonderful times we took for granted

Of moments shared and lost
The times we cried and those we fought
All I pray is for one last take
To reflect on a lifetime of memories
We’ll never get to make

There is only one thing you should know
That the love we share will forever follow
Wherever life leads us, even to the unknown
I will always have
peace in your shadow

Will you be there when my days have gone?
Forever I pray those beautiful eyes
Will follow me
Forever I pray those beautiful eyes
Will choose me
Forever I pray
They’ll love me.


CHARITY: The Trevor Project

Amy Lane

We need love one another. Love through anger, love through tears. Love enough to allow the different to exist in peace. Love enough to be kind in our arguments and supportive through our trials. Our community gets blamed by the ignorant and the misguided for so very much--we need to love beyond the blame. We need to not turn on ourselves for the same reasons. 

We are better than the people who hate us. We have love that our haters do not. We own forgiveness with the same strength with which we hold on to hope. 

When the world attacks this community, they need to see they are attacking a unified whole. They need to see they are attacking a group of people who love more strongly than they hate, include with more passion than they exclude, forgive more readily than they anger. 

These are the ideas that found a better world. 

Charity: The Trevor Project

Avon Gale

What happened in Orlando is beyond words. I simply cannot fathom how hate festers in a human heart – a human, who lives and breathes and shares the earth with other people – to the extend required to perpetrate such a horrible massacre. That someone would make a target of those who overcame adversity to celebrate who they were and the love they felt for others is beyond my understanding. As a bisexual woman, I want to read and write about LGBT characters having the kinds of relationships that end in happiness, not violence.  I write in the hopes that one day we will all be seen as, and treated as, human beings worthy of respect – regardless of what makes us different from each other. Those differences are, in my opinion, what make us beautiful. And my heart breaks that one person who couldn’t open their heart or their eyes has caused such pain and fear, such grief and loss.  

The charity: I have chosen for this post is Lambda Legal. It’s so important to fight measures that reduce LGBT people to second-class citizens and foster an atmosphere of fear, hate and intolerance. You can donate to Lambda’s extraordinary efforts on behalf of the LGBT population here: Lambda Legal

Lane Hayes

Hate can’t win. We can’t let it. Love is the key. Maybe I’m naive, but I believe it is the one thing that will eventually render the haters mute. It may not happen overnight but the outcry of love and support throughout the world in the wake of Orlando gives me hope. People have flocked to the streets  proudly carrying Pride flags to honor the dead and show support for the LGBTQ community. The colors of the rainbow have never looked quite so beautiful.

CHARITY: True Colors Fund

Felice Stevens

What happened last week in Orlando to innocent people looking only to enjoy themselves, should be unfathomable. Unfortunately for many, if not most of the LGBTQ community it isn't. People live in daily fear of being brutalized  ostracized and unwelcome in our society simply for who they love. Sexuality is not a choice and we, as allies need to help the message get across. It is not our job to lead this fight but rather to stand shoulder to shoulder and arm in arm with our sisters and brothers to right the wrongs and fight the fight. But most of all we need to listen when our LGBTQ friends talk and hear their pain.

 I pray the families of the victims find some peace in the future. And I pray for a future where this type of violence, borne of an irrational dependence on guns, never happens again. 

CHARITY: Ali Forney Center

Nicholas Bella

Sending my condolences and prayers to the families of the victims of that hateful, despicable act of violence in Orlando Florida. I am so sorry for your loss and your pain. 
I don't understand why people have to hate someone else for no other reason than that they are different than them. Be it the color if their skin, the shape of their eyes, the language they speak, the sexual organ they have between their legs, or the people the love.
That's really the only differences between us. We all bleed red, we all feel pain, we all want companionship, family, and love. We all want happiness, we all want to enjoy living life and we all have the right to pursue that happiness as long as it's not hurting anyone else. This is what these cruel people don't want to understand. You can't say you're killing in the name of God when God said, "Love thy Brother". We're supposed to take care of each other in this world we all share and it's a travesty when people warp what is supposed to be something beautiful into something ugly. 
The only true people who are monsters are the ones who want to hurt someone else for no other reason than being that person was different. "They don't look like me, or like what I like, so I'm going to go out of my way to hurt them".
What a horrible, selfish, and evil outlook.

Charity: True Colors Fund

1 comment:

  1. And yet - there are no words, are there? This was just terrible.