These past couple of days and I’m sure in the weeks to follow, you and your community of support have heard and may hear a lot from the religious people. Whether they’re in favor of or oppose the actions of another religious extremist, it is very possible that you may not even continue reading as soon as you find out this is written by a Christian.
I don’t blame you.
I write this in the wake of the unspeakable events that took place in Orlando, events that you need not be reminded of. I have heard and read countless accounts and variations of that night from survivors to police officers. From family members of the victims to celebrities who avidly show their support.
I write this fully aware of the backlash that awaits me. From some in your own community who have encountered more hate than they can handle that came from multiple people in the name of multiple religions. From those who support the choices of this shooter and rejoice in the results of his actions. And yes, even from those who were not in favor of what happened early Sunday morning but have dug their heels too far into the ground in opposition of you.
I write this so you know that I stand with you in your time of need.
In the midst of a war going on around you, with attacks coming from all sides, I stand with you, and I will help you bear your burdens if you allow me. When the storm rages outside, I tread the gap between us and speak no words as we cry together and mourn the loss of 49 human beings who had their lives stolen from them in the largest mass shooting in American history and the 53 who were injured. Let us consider the families of each of these individuals and the hell they are going through.
You might have heard the “love your neighbor” phrase a lot these days being tossed around, so much so that you might even be tired of hearing it as a shallow proclamation from your religious friends. You question their intentions and their true character when they say phrases such as this. I do too, but today I proudly and unashamedly proclaim this to the LGBT community. You are my neighbors and I love you. Despite what we may not see eye to eye on, we are still neighbors in that we are all equal and standing on level ground, and I stand by your side in your time of need. It’s hard for us to stand together on unlevel ground.
So today, I take a step off of my soap box, and embrace you. This misguided world so easily tilted towards aggression will reap the consequences for its actions. Until then, we all need a shoulder to lay our weary heads on.
I stand beside you. I pray for you. I mourn with you.
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from him;
But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.