Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pride and Privilege

I'm privileged.

I'm a straight, white man, born and bred in North America. I'm well-educated, well-travelled, well-read. I have no religious affiliations. A have a well-paying job, a house, two cars, a spouse, and healthy children.

I am truly fortunate.

I have never known fear, intimidation, and hate over the colour of my skin, my sexual orientation, my culture, my religious belief, my gender.

As news about the shooter in the Orlando nightclub massacre is gathered and evolves, we are seeing a picture of a troubled individual, Omar Mateen, who may or may not have committed this heinous offence because he was conflicted over his sexual orientation. If this is the case, there are more reasons to be outraged over what happened.

It's bad enough that he may have gone on a murderous rampage over his homophobia. There's enough hate in the world, already, over trivial matters and differences of opinion. But love is love is love. If too people love and care for one another, what does it matter what gender is involved? I would much rather see two people displaying compassion and affection for one another than two people fighting.

Love will always be stronger than hate.

If Mateen was, indeed, coming to terms with his homosexuality, I feel that what he did was far worse. He attacked the very community that would be understanding of his situation. Many in his shoes have worried about coming out, have fretted over how it would affect their family, their friendships, their jobs. I have friends who have grappled with coming out, were unsure whether the declaration would alienate them.

Mateen went into a place where he would have been welcomed, would have been able to feel safe, and in that place he mercilessly slaughtered scores of innocent people.

Was he afraid of how his father would have acted to the discovery that his son was gay? If you've heard about his father's reaction to his son's actions, you already know his thoughts on homosexuality: "God himself will punish those involved in homosexuality."

I'm not going to get into discussing Trump's mindless responses to this tragedy nor to America's stupidity over lax gun laws. I don't think that this attack was a terrorist act—Mateen's pledge to ISIS was a deflective statement, I think.

No, I want to say that as a privileged person, I will never know what it's like to be singled out by racism or homophobia. All I can do is speak out against it.

Actually, I want to do more than simply speak out: I want to take action.

I'm a person who believes in peace, goodwill to others, and accepting people, no matter their background and no matter whether it differs from mine.

I want to show my solidarity with the community that was targeted in this senseless attack. And so, this August 21, I plan to march in the Capital Pride Parade. It's a small gesture, but if enough people make small gestures, the net change can be huge.

Who's with me?

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