There’s a lot of shit going on in the world right now.
I try to keep it out of my blog as much as possible, because I’m guessing you’re not reading this blog for a re-cap of the news. You’re reading it for cute pictures of SB, or (I hope) humorous observations on parenthood, or just to see that yes, I totally empathise with you wanting to stick a “Reduced” sticker on your toddler and leave them on the shelf in ASDA after that last tantrum.
What happens somewhere else in the world doesn’t tend to feature in this blog post. Every time I read tragic news, I look at SB and she fills me with hope. She is the future, and I force myself to think optimistically about the world she’ll inherit one day. I try to tell myself that every day, we push closer and closer towards acceptance of people who live their lives in a way that deviates from “the norm”. That we are seeing them now for what they are – exactly the same as the rest of us, because they are us.
Today, it’s hard to feel optimistic. It’s hard to see the world she’ll inherit – right now it’s shrouded in uncertainty. I don’t know if I’m just feeling particularly fragile or sensitive right now, but the news of the tragic shooting in Orlando has really affected me in a way I didn’t expect it to. I feel sad whenever I hear about mass shootings or homicides, wherever they take place. This has hit me on an entirely new level.
I’ve always felt confident that my daughter will not grow up to see a person’s sexuality as anything other than a part of them; in the same way as the colour of their eyes is a part of them too. Her uncle is gay, as is her godfather. Some of our very closest friends are members of the LGBTQ+ community.
I think what’s shaken me so much is the now-inescapable knowledge that there are people out there who, for whatever reason, want to hurt those people I care about so much, for the simple fact of who they have fallen in love with. They haven’t made the choice to love their boyfriend or girlfriend any more than I’ve chosen to love Daf. It really is true that you can’t help who you fall in love with – so why are these people, the people I love and care for so deeply, now targets because of who they have fallen in love with?
What sort of world is SB going to grow up in; where your sexuality still defines your worth as a person? Where “gay” is still used as an insult; women are warned not to wear their hair in a certain way or they’ll “look like a lesbian”; a section of society continues to be othered and ostracised and above all, KILLED, for living their life the way they feel comfortable?
I will never be able to protect SB from the knowledge that there are people out there who make it their life’s mission to create fear and spread hatred. I will never be able to tell her that no-one has ever been killed for the simple, beautiful act of loving another human being. What I can tell her is, as many people far more eloquent than I have stated over the last few days, that love is love. Whoever you share it with; whoever you are – love is love, and it will always overpower hatred.
It’s easy to think that we can’t make a difference in this world – but as parents, we have the power to raise our children to choose love, not hate. We can raise them to see that you don’t choose who you fall in love with, and that love is always always always something to be celebrated – not feared, despised or used as justification for horrific acts.
We need to teach our children that love is love. When two adults love each other, it is not a crime. It is not abhorrent. It is not a catalyst or an excuse or a reason for committing a terrible crime. Love is just love, and for as long as we have love, hatred will never win.
RIP to the 49 victims killed in Orlando.