You don’t forget tragedy. In fact when tragedy strikes you find reminders of it all around. Sometimes when you think you’ve forgotten something happens, someone says something, and you remember all over again.
On June 12th, 2016 49 people lost their lives along with 53 people being badly wounded. It was one of the largest terrorist attack/hate crimes carried out against the LGBTQ community here in the US. It shook the community and shook the entire country. Both because it was a terrorist track as well as a targeted hate crime.
I remember waking up to check my phone around four in the morning and noticed several messages on my phone. Facebook had been blowing up and my notifications were in plenty. I started skimming through it in horror, shook, and fear. I knew that this was bad. Especially when I saw familiar names in my feed discussing that someone I knew was missing. I couldn’t do anything but watch on Facebook. It was four in the morning and this was how I was starting my day. As I turned my phone over I tried to go back to sleep. Images of what I thought happened, images of my friend, and images of myself in a club were in my dreams. I can tell you that for several weeks after this occurred every time I went out someone was asking me to stay in. A friend would tell me, “Just watch movies tonight”. I refused and went out, but I was watching. I analyzed everything around me. I noticed every person, every exit, and every second of every minute for some time after.
I was afraid. I was upset. I was also sad. I had many questions going on in my mind. Why ? How ? And even Who ? Answers came eventually. Some right away and some took time. The answers though didn’t erase what happened and the answers will not stop this from happening.
Attacks and mistreatment has been going on for decades towards the LGBTQ community. On June 28th, 1969, police raided a bar in New York that lead to the Stonewall Riots. It was this event that sparked LGBTQ activist organizations to form. Within six months two organizations formed in New York and within a few years they were across America.
On June 24th, 1973 the Upstairs Lounge Arson took place. Until Pulse it was the largest attack on the LGBTQ community. Thirty-two people lost their lives from fire and smoke inhalation when a man set fire to the upstairs lounge.
January 1st, 1982 John Hanson and Rick Hunter were beaten by Minneapolis police outside of a bar. While being treated for injuries in the hospital, staff reported and testified that the police mocked and called the victims names such as “faggots”.
On December 31st, 1993 Brandon Teena was murdered for being transgendered. Her story later became a movie titled “Boys Don’t Cry”. The horrible acts of violence she endured before she was murdered are tragic and unnecessary. A story of my generation that I cannot forget.
Matthew Shepard on October 7th, 1998 was beaten, tortured, and tied to a fence for being gay. He passed away on October 12th. I was 15 at the time, struggling with my own identify. This was a confusing time for me and this event silenced me for years to come.
On January 28th, 2005 Ronnie Antonio Paris, just three years old at the time, died of brain injuries. His father, suspicious he would grow up gay and a sissy, decided to take matters into his own hands. It is suspected that prior to the fatal attack he had been hurt several times before, all because he was suspected to be gay.
From 2005 the number of attacks, murders, and crimes against the LGBTQ community has increased.
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Prevention
This is just a snippet of incidents that have occurred. What took place on June 12th of this year has to end. How does it end ? It starts by advocating, standing up for what you believe in and also voting.
With this being an election year it is more important than ever to get out and make your voice heard. Which party stands with you ? Which party stands for the rights you believe in ? What party has your and the rest of the countries best interest in mind ?
Is this a political post ? It’s a historical post on LGBTQ and Political post. We need to be reminded of the history as well as make a decision on who we elect. Where does my candidate stand on gun control ? Terrorism ? And LGBTQ issues ?
I never forget what happens in history especially when I am effected first hand. I do think about what I can do. Does my vote really matter ? It does, even when you don’t think it does. Voting is an American right. In the earliest of times only the rich voted. Only those who owned land voted. Every minority group has fought for the right to vote. You should go out and do so.
I am not saying that tragedy will stop if you vote. I am not saying that these things won’t still occur. They still might ? I am saying though you can do your part to help make changes and those changes only occur when you go out and make a difference. If we had tighter gun laws, better criminal and terrorist watch laws, stronger supports from political figures we could see less of this happen.