What do you say when so much has been said already about the atrocity that occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando?
The organized chaos of Heathrow Airport’s terminal 5 rose and fell around me. Undulating waves of people – some scampering madly for flights, while others, hit by travel delays, wandered aimlessly in the neutral stupor of people neither here nor there.
I witness daily the anger some feel for others simply for stating their opinions regarding the Orlando tragedy, that I think they’re forgetting what’s truly important here.
The morning of June 12, 2016 I awoke, and started my normal routine. Grabbed my coffee, of course, and logged into Facebook.
I called my mom today and told her how upset I was after the Orlando mass murder. She tried to comfort me, but she could tell I was a bit frustrated. I told her that I wanted to tell her something. Something important. Something I needed her to hear — really hear.
Saturday June 11th I was in Portland, Oregon with family and friends celebrating my 50th birthday, along with a close friend of 30 years also turning 50. We started talking about the old days when gay bars had the best dance floors, the best DJs, the best sound system, and the best deal on a 8 ball….tee hee.
Early in my career I had the opportunity to briefly live and work in Tunisia, a North African country where Islam is the official state religion, highly influenced by colonial France and a large Western European tourism industry
I remember waking up on June 12. It was a lazy Sunday morning in bed with nothing to do until Ribbon of Life that afternoon. I grabbed the phone off the bedside table and started scrolling through Facebook updates. “Great. Another shooting,” I thought to myself as the blurred headlines started to scroll by.
The first time was April 19, 1995. I was performing in Forever Plaid at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Out of the blue, early one morning, my high school choral director called my apartment and told me to turn on the television, there was something I needed to see. To my horror, I saw live reports from my hometown, Oklahoma City, where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building had just exploded.
As I have reflected on the tragedy in Orlando, I cannot help but think about how much work there is still left in order to bring about equality.
The recent massacre at the Orlando, Florida nightclub was a monstrous crime against humanity – whether motivated by terrorist ideology, or hatred of the LGBT community.
In this time of profound grief following the devastating attack in Orlando it’s time for action and legislation.
Sunday, June 12, 2016 was not like any other Sunday. When I went to sleep around midnight Saturday, I expected to sleep late that next morning, eat breakfast and then head out for a bit of shopping. Little did I know that at the same time as I was getting comfy in bed, one of the worst tragedies in the LGBTQ community was unfolding across the nation in one of my favorite vacation destinations.
Our community has been attacked and we are all in shock. As we mourn, shed tears for those lost or injured in Orlando, we must double down on our efforts to demand social and legal equality. We cannot be deterred and cannot be intimidated into the shadows.
Nothing we say will ever alleviate the pain, agony and despair felt by the witness, survivors, friends and family members of 49 individuals massacred in Orlando Florida. Nothing will bring them joy, comfort and safety for a long time.
I was awakened early that Sunday morning by our publicist informing me that the media wanted to know if I’d be available to discuss the “terrorist attack”.
When I heard the news on that tragic Saturday night my blood went cold and I was in disbelief.
Omar Mateen has killed 49 people—the most people who have ever been killed in a mass shooting in the US. I have an idea of why this man might have killed all of these people, and I believe that nobody else has thought about Omar Mateen in the same way.