In the wee hours of Sunday morning I was woken up by a dog in the street barking relentlessly. Eventually I wondered if it was hurt so I went outside to take a look. It was fine, but fairly aggressive. I could see it had a tag on it's collar, but since it was coming towards me growling I went back in the house wondering, as I usually do, why none of the other neighbors, or even the dog's owner, were not paying attention.
I don't normally bring my phone to bed, but the night before I was doing some internet research and fell asleep. When I went back to bed after checking on the dog I noticed a BBC News alert about a shooting in a club in Orlando. I remember thinking how sad as I drifted off to sleep.
In the morning I grabbed my phone to look at Instagram which is a morning ritual for me and saw multiple news alerts. I began to understand the full scope of what had happened. My Instagram feed was flooded with #prayfororlando posts. Friends in my maker and animal communities, who are also a part of the LGBT community, were posting about their feelings, the horror, the sadness.
Then the real ugliness started. Never before have I had posts in my own Instagram feed filled with hate, but I did yesterday. I had to report, block, and unfollow several accounts. I felt a weight on my heart. I worried about my friends. I went to bed last night thinking that I could never ever understand what it would be like to have my own unique community targeted and attacked in such hatred. I'm pretty mainstream you see. I'm white, middle class, heterosexual. I don't speak much on religion or politics. I have no extreme views (unless you count animals and kindness). As I fell asleep it started to dawn on me that kindness may just be an extreme view.....
That brings us to today. The morning reports on NPR. Every story on MSN News. My coworkers reactions. The afternoon reports on NPR. Somewhere along the way I realized that the LGBT community is my community to and I'm mad and angry about the attacks on my community. Why? Because no matter who you love or how you love, you are a person. I am a person. We are the same species with the same basic needs out of life. We are part of the same community.
That was my heart's response. My logical response got me to the same place. If there are LGBT people in my craft/work/animal/friendship community, then we are, by extension, also part of that community. I cannot care for my friends who are gay foster dads, or my coworker who just married her wife after being together for 10 years, and not have a stake in the care and survival of that community. That community which holds the people I love is my community too.
And so, because of this, the hate crime and terrorist attack that took place in Orlando should shake us all to the core. It should shake the foundation of our beliefs and make us rise up to assert that love and kindness are the only causes worth fighting for, with our hearts, with our words, with our love.