President’s Corner, July 2016: On Orlando

I know that for June, I should be putting together some kind of fluff piece about gay pride, Gay Pride Month, take your pick. This is certainly true, since this our Pride month, and we have so much to reflect on, and be thankful for. I don’t want to downplay that, since even in my own lifetime, we have come some much farther than I ever thought we could.

But, as GLASC president, I find I would be remiss not to talk about what happened in Orlando. I realize that GLASC is not a political organization, though in the past, some member have pushed it more that way, but this is topic that our organization must address, if only among ourselves. I have been wanting to say something at our dinners, but in reality, the first dinner was just too soon; and the most recent was too chaotic.

It’s additionally not that I have any great wisdom to give here. I have none. Nothing but empty platitudes that say, and mean, nothing. I could write some, I suppose, but they would be worth as much as the paper this (isn’t) printed on. I am not able to watch or read too much about the event, even now. Just hours after the shooting, it was already a political hot potato, with the candidates, and lobbies arguing over responsibility, over gun control, over so many other different issues.

Whatever the reason for this shooting, this is our community. Those people who died were no different than any of us. Indeed, I had friends posting from Oil Can Harry’s that Saturday night. I am thoughtful that it could just as easily have been there as in Orlando; those people who died were probably people I might have known. For this reason, I am still unable to process any of this. All I feel is a profound sense of sadness and loss. I am not angry, maybe that will come later, but not now. Not since I started reading the entries on my Facebook feed, and realized what had happened. I am still grieving; and I don’t think that’s going away any time soon. Certainly, the world has moved on, but I don’t think that even our straight allies clearly or fully understand that this shooting and its aftermath affects all of us, because we are community. Those people who died may have lived in Florida, but they were a part of our community. And in the wake of this shooting, I felt, and continue to feel, somewhat less safer today than I did before this happened. I know that others of my friends feel similarly. These are issues that we, as our own part of the gay community, must work through, within ourselves, and with each other.

In recent years, we have had discussions as a GLASC Board about the importance of GLASC, the continuing relevance of GLASC in a technologically savvy world like ours. This event reminds me anew of the importance of meeting, as we do, every week for dinner; and regularly for events like parties, potlucks, and brunches. It seems like such a small thing, but it is important that we continue to meet, to face together the future whatever it holds. In places like Santa Clarita, where there is a strong, conservative presence, it is more important than ever to show the SCV that we are here, and that while we can be hurt, we will grieve, mourn, and continue.

WE are the Gay and Lesbian Association of Santa Clarita, and I am proud to be a part of it.

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