You guys know I’m gay, right?
I wonder that when I read the comments section lately.
If you really knew I was gay, you wouldn’t say those things would you? In front of me? My family? My friends?
The only reasonable answer is you don’t know.
And that’s partly my fault.
I’ve never been particularly loud about it, but that makes it no less true.
Let me get you caught up. I’m gay. Partnered with someone I love very much. Normal.
I’d seen no reason to make any of it a focal point. Then I read the comments section after the Orlando nightclub shooting.
Now have a reason to be bold. We all do.
When I woke up to the news of the horrific loss of life inside the Pulse nightclub, I felt sick.
Who would I know there from my years living in Florida? What would happen next? What can I do to help?
All this from a guy who has never really spent a lot of time in gay clubs.
Like a lot of people, I’ve always been trapped between two worlds - gay and straight. That made me a bit of a lone wolf for a number of years.
I was a man with no sanctuary. I use that word literally: “a place of refuge or safety.”
Only after the attack, did I realize that’s what Pulse, and all gay bars, really are – a safe place to be yourself. Gay, straight or whatever.
A place where you can hold hands with your boyfriend without worrying about stares, someone yelling “faggot” or worse. A place away from the comments section.
Words matter. Everything you say. Everything you post or comment - it all matters. Someone sees every thought. And what you say makes the difference between love and hate.
Jeremy Campbell is an ATLien, storyteller, traveler... & often all three at once.