My heart has broken countless times for Orlando.
It broke when I heard 20 lives were gone. It broke when that number rose to 50, and more injured. It broke when I thought of how safe and happy my friends and I are in a neighborhood that celebrates the LGBT community, and how, in an instant, that community could be violated, as it was in Orlando. My heart broke when I thought of the gay kids afraid to come out, who were pushed farther back into the closet, afraid they too might be murdered for being who they are.
My heart broke when I heard people condemning an entire religion for what happened. It broke when I heard people fighting for guns over lives. It broke when I saw people standing behind what had happened.
My heart broke when I forced myself to read each name of the victims in the senseless attack.
My heart broke when I realized this amount of hate is possible in our world, in our country, in our community, right now.
We need to stop the hate. Against sexuality, against religion, against race, against gender, against political parties. Against ourselves. Every word of hate—every thought of hate— makes tragedies like this possible. If we train ourselves to love instead, we can start to get better.
I ask you all to talk to your LGBT friends, to vote for stricter laws on guns, to open your mind to other cultures, and to think, speak, and share love. For me, for others in the LGBT community, for yourself and for everyone else we share this planet with. Love.