There is a tragically ironic element to the timing of Sunday’s attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, the aftermath of which amounts to the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history.
All through June, all across the country, the LGBTQ community and its supporters have been and are celebrating Pride month, centered around the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage on June 26. People of all nationalities, races and preferred sexual orientations are taking to the streets to celebrate an atmosphere of unity, equality and love.
And then came Sunday morning’s tragedy, which, in the age of social media and instantaneous information, became the conversation piece and six-column, boldened headline of the day. It was no different at the Daily Lobo offices, where, while preparing Monday’s paper and online-curated content, the shooting loomed like a dark cloud.
The story was and is garnering the same attention that it would had the shooting taken place at a church, a movie theater, a community center, an elementary school, in 2006 or 2016. Media scrambling to find out as much as it can about the shooter and his possible motivations or affiliations. Presidential candidates, celebrities and other distinguished figures offer their condolences. And the vast majority of the nation provides an outpouring of support for a community that has experienced substantial progress not just since June 26, 2015, but in the last decade.
It’s tragically ironic, the timing of such an event. But in another way it’s ironic and difficult to imagine another situation that, in its aftermath, symbolizes how accepted the LGBTQ community has become.
Despite the horrific circumstances that occurred Sunday morning, it is clear that the diabolical actions of one man can be overshadowed by those very same messages of unity, equality and love expressed by millions, and that, despite the painful realities they now face, the families and loved ones of the victims may find some solace in those messages.
For as long as civilization has existed, there has been tragedy, lives altered in the blink of an eye, questions raised about the moral and socially-influenced fabric of society. The LGBTQ community, Pride month and the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s shooting show that there is something we can use to endure, a message spoken loudest and exemplified every day by LGBTQ individuals: that for as long as there will be tragedy, there will also be reason for unity, for equality and for love. There will always be that increasingly reliant power from an ever more interconnected global society that light will be found in times of darkness, solidarity in times of despair, love in times of hate.
The LGBTQ community epitomizes that message more than anyone. That is why we should stand by LGBTQ individuals not just in the coming days, not just in June, but always, and in all circumstances.