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After Orlando, Brave Voices Matter Now More than Ever

Here’s the thing: I’m bisexual. That’s not a word I’ve spoken out loud more than a few times. That’s not a word I have used to describe myself to more than just two people privately. That’s not really been a word I have put much thought into talking about, let alone writing to thousands of people about.

So why share it?

Last weekend, our nation suffered one of its biggest tragedies to date. The mass shooting in Orlando is still fresh on my mind and it is not something that will be easy to ever forget. Over the past few days, there has been a flurry of premature assumptions in the the media about the shooter and his actions, with no clear answer yet and there might not ever be.

But there’s one thing I do know - it was a hate crime. It’s a hate crime towards the LGBT community and it took away 49 innocent lives.

To ignore the place and environment in which it happened is a disservice to the people who went to Pulse to enjoy their night amongst people they could be comfortable with. I’m not here to write about the details and the tragedy or the man who did it, I’m here to celebrate the legacy of the those 49 incredible people.

They lived comfortably in their skin, and if they didn’t they were allowed to on Saturday night. In solidarity I, and others when they’re ready, should live comfortably too.

I’m exposing myself and letting go of this secret I have kept inside of me because being gay, bisexual, transgender or asexual is not something that should be treated negatively. Too many people make the point of saying, “Why does it matter if you’re gay? You shouldn’t have to say it! Who cares?” It does matter, and it will matter until people truly are treated without hatred that are attached to those words.

People are still dying for being gay or transgender. People are still being murdered for being gay or transgender. People are still committing suicide for being bullied for being gay or transgender.

Their voices still matter...And so does mine.

I’ll tell you this: I’m terrified. I’m scared that this will be released to the world and that you’re reading this, right now.

Many of you don’t know me, but people who do know I don’t say that much about myself. I don’t make it a point to say really personal things to anyone. I realize that so many push bisexuality aside and it’s not taken seriously, and I’m afraid that I won’t be taken seriously either. I have feared what others might think and how it will negatively impact my relationships.

But I will not let fear consume me to keep it hidden. The word fear has been spread across headlines for the past couple days. We shouldn’t let fear in the shadow of violence change how we feel or how we act. We need to prevail through that fear; only then can the hatred subside. It will save lives.

On Sunday night at the Tony Awards, playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a sonnet to Orlando. “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.” If my freedom to love will help others to do the same, that’s the importance of that poem. Love is love. It is, and it always will be. I will love, we will love, and the people of Orlando did love. We need love, no matter where it comes from. Until the hatred stops, “pride” should and will go on.

So, here’s the thing: I’m bisexual and that’s okay. I hope that you see that it’s okay too.

If you’re interested in donating towards helping the people of Orlando there is a GoFundMe that goes directly to the affected families here or you can donate to Orlando’s LGBT various organizations like The Center, the Zebra Coalition, or the Orlando Youth Alliance.

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