On Tuesday evening I sat with a young gay man who shared with me that he had been on vacation in Orlando and had been at the Pulse night club just weeks before the shooting.
Like me, in his private moments, his eyes filled with tears as he thought about the people killed.
Also, without hesitation he began to whisper some of this thoughts as we sat at Bigby because intuitively he has been conditioned to be careful how loud he speaks about his reality.
Would some passer-by jeer?  Would they comment if they heard us having a conversation about being gay?  Is there a chance that they would preach against him, shame him or even be volatile?
He started a new job a month ago.  Will people hold it against me if they learn that i’m gay is a thought that goes through his mind.   This week, in a staff meeting the topic of the shooting came up and someone looked to him expecting a response.  He mentioned that he was there a few weeks back.  He chose to be vulnerable and expose himself instead of making up a story.  He didn’t want to do this so early on in the job but he chose to be honest.
The next day there was a card on his desk from his boss expressing her empathy and support for him in this time.  She understood and validated him in his sadness.
All of the hatred, marginalization, fear, shaming, propaganda and reduction of problems to one sure factor has my head spinning this week.   All of this negativity led me to post a reminder.
I posted Philippians 4:8 on my wall without the scripture reference.  I needed to remind myself that it is important to think about positive things.  I think that reminder was well received and that is reflected by likes and smiles and comments.
My very next post was about some Jewish Rabbis who went to a gay bar and loved on a group of people who were hurting because of the shooting in Orlando. It brought tears to my eyes to read the action of these men to incarnate themselves into the lives of people who are hurting and to stand beside them and tell them that they are loved unconditionally.  These Rabbis came out of there zone of comfort to show something tangible.
Guess how many people responded to my next post?
Facebook will not change the world.  You and I will do that when we love in tangible ways.

One thought on “Orlando

  1. It’s really wonderful to see how compassionate people can be during times like these. The attack in Orlando didn’t just affect the victims inside Pulse nightclub, it also affected every LGBT person who can’t comfortably be out to the world. I can picture so many LGBT youth struggling to find themselves feeling more vulnerable when they know they might be the target of violence, especially the kind of violence shown in Orlando. But luckily there are people who have the capacity to listen to others and see them for more than their sexual orientation or gender identity – people who will actually see them for who they are. We need more people like that in the world.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts Rob.

    Liked by 1 person

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