You take the pieces off the ground, and show this wicked town something beautiful and new

I don’t think I will ever find the words to say how horrific the Orlando shooting in the Pulse nightclub was. Every time there is an attack and innocent people die, I feel a bit more broken. I still, as a 32 year old woman, can’t comprehend how or why such atrocities can occur in this day and age.

Any death is sad, but to maim and kill people who were out having fun with their friends, partners or lovers is a low blow. What does such an attack achieve?

This wasn’t about religion. This wasn’t about being white, black, Christian, Muslim etc, this was about a hatred for love.

It shouldn’t matter who we chose to love and connect with. Surely what matters is we find that someone. Who cares if what’s in our pants match (or don’t match)? Who cares if a man wants to kiss another man or a woman hold another woman in a lovers embrace? Who cares if the skin you were born in wasn’t the right fit for you, so you make changes to make it fit you correctly?

I have never experienced the hatred that this community encounters everyday. I’ve never had to build myself up to come out to my family, friends or colleagues. I’ve never had to feel ashamed of loving someone. I can, and will never pretend to understand what that feels like.

But today, I stand in unity with you all. I stand for the freedom to love who you love, be who you want to be and to live a life free of pain, hate and fear. Just because one idiot takes offence and takes innocent lives, I refuse to back down.

One day we will find the unity that the majority of us want, but until that day we will take this tragedy and turn it into something beautiful. Don’t focus on this one idiot, instead focus on those who died, their achievements, their life and their legacies. Pay tribute by donating to your local LGBT charity, spend time in the community, go to Pride and make new friends.

But most importantly, never ever allow one person or their actions make you feel afraid to be who you want to be.

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