I can still vividly recall the excitement I felt on that Friday night almost a year ago, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted members of the LGBTQ community the right to marry. It is a historic moment in American history, and it is also a legendary victory celebrated by all of us across the world. It makes us, Americans and non-Americans, believe that the world is slowly changing for us, and with the passing of each law that benefits us, we feel safer and have more faith in society.
I often ask myself whether this trend is a positive sign or simply a temporary illusion. Maybe I am naturally pessimistic, or maybe I am just too afraid to lose the rights that I am entitled to enjoy. These rights are the hard-fought victory earned through decades of protests staged by our predecessors. God knows how much they had to sacrifice to get us where we are now. Of course, we are not just benefiting from the rights won by them, but we also inherit the feisty spirit and tenacity that they displayed through decades of social movements. We learn how to speak up for ourselves rather than waiting for society to change for us. We realize that we have to be proud of being queer, so we can convince others to accept us.
Sadly, not everyone is on our side, and the world is not short of people that are doing whatever they can to discourage us. On the eve of June 12, a horrific shooting happened at a nightclub in Orlando, causing 50 innocent lives and wounding 53 others. Since many of the victims are members of the LGBTQ community, it seems hard to rule out the possibility that we are the targets of this terrorist incident. It is not just a brutal act motivated by unreasonable hatred against the LGBTQ community, but it is also an attempt to silence us. It makes us realize that we can’t just count on society to offer us protection, and it is too naive to believe that homophobia has become a thing of the past.
This incident may make us think twice before holding hands or kissing our loved ones in public, and it may make us more cautious as we move forward. But one thing we know is that we can never stop championing LGBTQ rights and educate the world about us. It is the only way to prevent us from falling back to the dark corner, and it is also the best way to discourage those who are trying to hurt us. So, we will keep waving the rainbow flags, and fighting for equal rights. We will never stop being who we are, and keep reminding the world of our existence. Most importantly, we will never stop loving, because that is the ultimate cure to heal the wound.