After my initial devastation of hearing of the shootings at a gay night club in Orlando that killed 50 people and wounded another 50+ (the largest mass shooting in American history), my mind went to my own kids and my students I work with every day.
Why did this happen? How could this happen? How do I attempt to explain this situation when the questions start...? Should I have the answers? Moreover, how do I open up discussion with my LGBT+ students?
This was a hate crime...end of story.
It is my fear that the magnitude of this act will become overshadowed (and this is starting to occur already) by the American gun control debate or “another” terrorist attack (can’t believe I just wrote that).
In discussing this with our children and students, it is vital that we keep focus where it is required...on the disregard for human life that was demonstrated and to then offer hope and reassurance that the steps we take from day to day reach out, lend a helping hand, make a difference, etc. are largely outweighing this gross display of inhumanity.
Underlying this incident, like many others in our history, is the battle that the LGBT+ community faces from day to day, striving for acceptance, respect, and equality. And as allies for the LGBT+ community, we all have a role to play in chipping away at local and traditional perspectives, that classify anything other than heterosexuality or male / female binary as being sinful or wrong.
As Newfoundanders & Labradorians, it is time to shed the ignorance and narrow-mindedness that religion and history has enshrouded us with and start seeing our LGBT+ children, students, neighbors, relatives, colleagues, citizens, for who they are...equals.
Why do 'these people' need a pride parade? Now you know why...