Seeing a rainbow in the clouds on a flight back from Madrid, I thought of Orlando; of how 103 people were shot badly enough to need either hospital treatment or a body bag, and of how such a horrific attack could possibly have been carried out by just one man; of how a safe space had finally been created for a minority who have suffered violence and hatred for the mere crime of a ‘wrong’ existence, and of how that same ‘safe’ space was invaded and its people hunted down by just one man.
I have felt a whole spectrum of emotions about this attack. I have been angry about the lack of gun control, and sad for the families and friends of anyone who lost someone. I have been scared, too, because this is the biggest and most specifically aimed attack I have ever heard of, and a safe space has been converted into a place of fear.
Despite all of that, something I have felt and continue to feel is an endless amount of admiration and respect for all those LGBTQ people who express themselves without shame both at Pride events and in their daily lives. In fact, I was particularly touched by a post written by a close friend inviting other people to do just that.
It is clear that something desperately and urgently needs to change regarding gun control, homophobia and terrorism – but we know this. In the last few days alone, Facebook and Twitter have exploded with posts and articles and petitions. Whilst I urge you to be angry, to demand change, and to support movements to tighten gun control, I will not be contributing to that discussion here.
Instead, I’m asking you for a favour.
I want you to make a rainbow hot chocolate.
I want you to melt pink marshmallows and use edible glitter and multicoloured sprinkles, and the most colourful mug you can find. And while you drink that hot chocolate, I want you to think about the victims, and think about Pride, and think about what some of the people around you have been through just to safely express who they are.
All I am asking is that you remember – but that you remember with a rainbow.