“It’s just so sad.”
A small string of words that have no true permanence. In light of the last few weeks, I have remained equally quiet and outspoken. I have tried to reserve myself for only the facts of what I knew to be true. I have tried to keep emotion separate and personal beliefs out of the equation for friends and family as we discussed current events. Yet, no matter how many people I spoke to, using pure factual statements, those same string of words were uttered from almost all of their lips, “It’s just so sad.”
Well, I tried to keep emotion separate… honestly, fuck that. It is time to let emotions and personal beliefs run free like tears and blood have over the past few weeks. I know the emotions I am about to list will be the same ones many of my friends have shared over the past few days, but still I feel the need to verbalize them and let them leave my body, even if it is only for the second I type them: anger. fear. despair. darkness. grief. confusion. silence. powerlessness. desire. passion. loneliness. emptiness. defeat.
These are only to name a few on the wide range of emotions I (along with many others) have been struggling with recently. And in the end, even with all of those sentiments readily available at all times, most people will still verbalize it as, “It’s just so sad.” Let me clarify, most LGBTQ+ allies will verbalize it as, “It’s just so sad.”
Humanity, wake UP. This isn’t just “sad” anymore. This is appalling. This is unacceptable. This needs to change. Use proper wordage. When 49 people who were out with loved ones celebrating themselves and each other get shot for love–yes, love–we can’t categorize it as “sad” anymore. A dog dying is sad. A child moving and leaving their long time friends is sad. 49 people being gunned down for no REAL reason is an atrocity. It is an unnatural disaster. It is chaos. It is devastation.
Condemning it to the simple statement, “It’s just so sad,” is in itself an injustice. We can’t categorize this as sad, because sad goes away. Sadness diminishes over time. People forget. People stop talking about it. So please, I implore you, stop calling it sad. Address it for what it is. A devastating disaster. A devastating disaster that we cannot stop talking about until some real change occurs. Stop tolerating anger and hatred. Stop disrespecting the 49 lives lost by saying something that happened to them is just “sad.” Expand your vocabulary. Use adjectives that match the gravity and horror that has touched our world. At a loss for words? Let me help you: horrendous. tragic. disastrous. devastating. calamitous. harrowing. destructive. despairing. fatal. deplorable. cataclysmic. catastrophic. ruinous. poisonous.
I can keep going. But please, I beg you… stop saying it’s sad. Because sad means we’ll get over it like a bad breakup. As a society, we CANNOT get over this. Because if we get over this and begin to turn a blind eye to such injustices, then we have failed. We have failed our loved ones, we have failed our future, and we have failed the foundation (loosely interpreted) of what this nation is built on: acceptance. We must move past tolerance. You tolerate mosquitoes. You tolerate pesky neighbors. You do not tolerate blatant hatred toward a group of people who are just trying to express the most natural sentiment of all: love. We do not tolerate a person’s ability to share the most beautiful experience us humans get to share with each other. Love must be accepted, not tolerated. You don’t tolerate the ones you love, or else that relationship is doomed for failure. You accept them. You accept them, no matter what… and that is when a relationship flourishes. Without acceptance, as a nation we will be stuck at a standstill. We have hit our peak, until we can truly learn to accept each other and disregard the outrageous hatred burrowed inside some hearts. We need to accept things for what they are and not diminish them with basic vocabulary that sweeps it under the carpet.
My heart has been heavy these past few days trying to verbalize what I was feeling. And then I realized what a luxury I have in being able to verbalize those feelings. I am not silenced, and I will not allow myself to be silenced anymore. But, I know that is not a luxury afforded to all. Every day people stay silent. They stay silent as they are abused by a partner. They stay silent as they relive their rape every day. They stay silent as they fear to express their ability to love someone. And yes, I purposefully chose the word ability. Loving someone isn’t a choice. It is an inherent ability that we have no control over. We are cosmically tethered to the people we love; whether that is family, partners, friends, the choice is not ours. So please stop calling love a choice and refer to it as what it really is… an act and ability that we grow, foster, relish, and have zero control over.
Love is love.
As an ally, I stand by my LGBTQ+ friends and community in your resilient and beautiful ability to love. Many of you have shown me such an outpouring of love that I have neither asked for, nor in many cases deserved. Many of the lessons on love and how to truly love without limits I have learned, are from all of you and your amazing and wondrous community. But, I know it is not enough to just stand by you. It is not enough to sympathize and grieve and remember. It is not enough. Standing, by nature, is an inactive action. It is solitary. It is motionless. There is no progress in standing. Progress comes in moving. Progress comes in doing. Progress comes in action. As an ally, I call upon all of my fellow allies… don’t just stand anymore. Do. Truly combat the hatred when you see it. Stop using words like sad and tolerate and choice when they don’t appropriately describe the situation we have at hand. Don’t just exist in the fight. Be a part of it. Support your LGBTQ+ community. As an ally, do you know where your nearest LGBTQ+ center is? Have you volunteered there? Have you spoken to an LGBTQ+ community member about their true experiences with their ability to love? What they have gone through? Do you know what resources are available if a youth came to you with questions on LGBTQ+ matters and looking for support? Have you done anything other than say, “I accept your ability to love.” Because, I’ll be honest… I truly haven’t. Up until now, I have been a faux ally. An accepting person, who didn’t move to the next step beyond acceptance. It is with a heavy heart and honest embarrassment that I acknowledge that the murder of 49 people had to push me to move beyond that, but it has. Will you push yourselves beyond that? Will you do more? Or is this, “just so sad?”