When I was 18, I added a boy from my incoming college freshman Facebook group as a friend. We didn’t become real friends in person until second term but he became a solid force in my life. We would go for iced coffee, watch Friends, drink wine, dance as though we were mating to Pon De Floor. We would discuss which boys we fancied, help each other handle breakups, deep fry chicken tenders in his fraternity at 4 in the morning. We even took a spontaneous trip to Canada, stayed for one drink and a quick round of Blackjack, and then drove back to school.
Don’t get me wrong – we’ve had downs too. But it’s the ups that keep me adoring him and wanting the best things for him and ultimately just wanting him to be happy. And he is the main reason why last night’s Orlando massacre makes me sick.
I am straight. My relationships are portrayed in films and TV series without a hitch. I can kiss my SO in public, hold his hand and no one will say anything. I can openly talk about my relationship. I can bring him home to my parents without any additional stress other than “Will they like him?”
My friend doesn’t get that luxury. And it shouldn’t even be a luxury.
No one should be afraid to be who they are. No one should be persecuted for something they have no say in – skin colour, sexuality, culture. Love of all kinds should be celebrated in its fullest. No one should run the risk of being slaughtered in a safe space for the love they are expressing.
B, I love you and I am standing here for you. And I am waiting and trying my best to contribute to making this world one where you can feel safe being you.