By Danie B
One year ago today I had driven two and a half hours to do a show on 103.3 AMP Radio in Boston. I logged on to the internet to show prep only to see that Orlando was in turmoil. How could something so horrific happen in a place branded as the happiest place on earth?
I remember not knowing what to say. You see even though I wasn’t in Orlando yet, I was in talks to potentially take a job as the afternoon personality on 101.9 AMP Radio. I wanted this gig bad, so I had already started to insta-stalk my potential coworkers, their friends and random people of Orlando.( Yeah , I was lurking. Deal with it.) It pained me to see these people that I only knew through social media in so much pain caused by one person’s hate.
I didn’t know much about the LGBTQ community, but when I actually got the job and committed to moving to Orlando, I made it my business to learn more, and that I did. I remember Pride Weekend being my first immersion into the LGBTQ world. I participated in the parade via our station’s float, and the happiness and unity I saw literally bought tears to my eyes.
I went to Parliament House that night where I learned of wolves, bears and otters. I learned the basics of voguing even though I suck at it, and I also talked to a guy who was HIV positive and how he basically has to trick the system into providing him with affordable healthcare. I also learned of major healthcare challenges facing the LGBTQ community, why marriage equality is so important, and how there has been progress but so much more needs to be done in the fight for equality.
As we remember the lives of those we tragically lost one year ago, I feel good knowing that through their sacrifice, more love, education, understanding and unity has been the end result. That coward tried to ensure HATE would trump Orlando’s joy, but instead LOVE is continuing to win.