In the first couple of days following the Orlando shooting, my mama heart ached with the parents who lost their children and the ones whose fear for their children was taken to new levels. To simply say that parents of LGBTQ kids had their fears for their child’s safety renewed would be an understatement.

Please take a moment to hear Molly Lavacek, the mom of one of my friends and colleagues, tell about her reaction. She originally posted it to her FaceBook page and with her permission, it’s now here for you to experience: Read More →

My friend Amy Flower (what a cool name, right?) wrote this post yesterday. Her post is like many I’ve seen in my feed recently, filled with hurt and even completely valid anger.

Please take a moment to hear Amy out and lean IN to her pain instead of turning away from it. I know it’s sometimes hard to look at someone’s pain. It can be as painful and uncomfortable as looking into the sun, but unlike looking into the sun, when you look away your vision will be clearer. You will see and understand things you didn’t see and understand before, and this is how we cultivate empathy and change the world.

Your silence is deafening. I see your lack of acknowledgment of the Pulse attack in Orlando, but watch your devastation over the toddler and singer from The Voice dying. I agree both are horrible tragedies, one a terrible act of violence. However, how can you completely ignore 50 lives being taken and over 50 more being changed forever? Why are you too busy posting photos of your everyday life or memes as if the world and our country’s history didn’t just change forever? There is so much action to be taken around this tragedy. If there is one thing we can learn from this, it’s that life is short. If you don’t have the dignity to show compassion or respect for the victims, then I don’t want you in my life. This act of hate is more than just another massacre, it’s a magnification of the injustices faced by a whole group of people. I am one of those people. My wife is one of those people. My friends are those people. My co-workers and some of my family members are those people. I see you. I see your apathy and it is absolutely crippling. Sometimes a lack of action and silence is far more hurtful than one could even imagine.

I know I said this week I wanted you to hear from voices of my LGBTQ friends and their parents, that my thoughts and feelings needed to wait, but sometimes my thoughts and feelings consume me until I can express them. Last night I couldn’t sleep so I posted the following to FaceBook. Many friends asked if they could share and I’m more comfortable sharing it this way than making my post public. So, stay tuned and I will continue adding stories from friends this week, but first, I had to get something off of my chest:

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It’s 3:40am. I’ve been awake since 1:30am. My mind can’t rest. I toss and turn in bed and think, “What can I do? How can I help?”

Straight friends, I know many of you don’t understand why the shooting in Orlando was such a big deal to me and LGBTQ people outside of Orlando. Even my husband didn’t quite understand at first, bless him. When I told him I would be postponing my plans to go shopping on Sunday so I could check on my friends and take care of what I consider to be MY community, every bit as much as my church community is MY community, he gently asked me why we would be so devastated and physically distraught when it didn’t happen here. I knew empathy is not his strongest point and sometimes he has to have feelings explained, so I gently looked at him with tears brimming and said, “It could have been them. It could have been me. It could have been here.” Read More →

This morning as I reflected on what I felt like needed to say about the Orlando shooting and the effect that horrific event and the aftermath are having in my circles, I realized the voices I want many to hear are not my own. Since I’ve been doing advocacy work for and with the LGBTQ community for the past couple of years as a straight ally, my Friends List on FaceBook (and in real life) is quite diverse and my FB feed most likely looks a little different than many of my straight, white (and also not trans) friends. My feed is FILLED with the shock, anger, fear, pain and resilience of a diverse community. Sure there are things that I want and need to say about this all, but I have the privilege and the platform, and with that the responsibility, to be able to amplify the voices of those from whom the world needs to hear. Read More →