Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Are you afraid of LGBT Cooties?

I realize this may be an unusual question to ask.  In fact, it may just be way too strange.  After all, we aren't in grade school, afraid of the cooties of each other - or are we?  You can only answer the question for yourself, but I know I've seen this firsthand this week.

In the aftermath of the Orlando Massacre, we saw an outpouring of support from many corporations and cities across the US and the World.  Places that would not have wanted to be known as gay or LGBT friendly, were really stepping up to the plate.  I applaud them as loudly as I can.  I'm thankful they stepped up!

However, it is others that I think are afraid of the gay and LGBT cooties.  I'll list a few examples and maybe you have a few of your own that you could leave as a comment.  I think this discussion needs to take place.  Hopefully this will spark a discussion.

Examples of LGBT Cooties...

Governor Rick Scott and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi rushed to the scene of the massacre in Orlando.  Rightfully, they are in charge of these matters for the state of Florida and so they should be onsite.  However, and I make this a big however; these two individuals were so anti-gay (anti-LBGT) that they have very few friends in the community.  While they came down and did some grandstanding and photo ops, they could barely utter the word "gay" or "LGBT".  It was like the Governor and the Attorney General were afraid to get LGBT cooties on them.

Another example is a recent survey (most likely not a scientific measurement) of what happened to LGBT the next day at work.  Many of the respondents stated it was business as usual and while people felt bad that this shooting took place, most of the office folks tried to avoid the subject.  It was like, they were afraid to get LGBT cooties on them.

A more personal example was with people I know, especially the people I consider close to me.  The first thing I did when I heard about this was contact friends in Orlando and make sure they were okay.  I had a few friends and I mean very few that even reached out to check on me and my partner.  Many have still not even uttered a word about this situation and it's almost like they are afraid of the LGBT cooties.

The Orlando Massacre was personal...

Maybe I am over analyzing this, but it feels like too many just don't know what to say or they are too afraid to say anything.  Maybe while everyone feels horrible for what happened, there is still this stigma that it is a "gay" and "LGBT" related issue.  Attitudes have progressed and changed, but there is still this negative undertone that exists in our society.  We're nowhere near full acceptance of LGBT people.

This massacre in Orlando is personal for all people who identify as LGBT (gay).  For me personally, it happened in my backyard.  It is no longer something that happens in another city.  It is personal.  It has been an emotional week seeing this unfold and being at the vigil in Orlando on Monday night.


If you're gay (LGBT), you know that you've had to live your life, always worried that someone would attack you for who you are.  With the event of this week, it has been made abundantly clear that this is not some made up scenario.  It's real.  If you ever wondered why the LGBT community has pride events, the events of this week should be a very good reason.

My main goal for writing this is to help push the discussion to reach out to those affected by this tragedy, directly and indirectly.  Don't just think that everything is okay and go on about your busy day.  Reach out.  Send a text, email or give them a call.  Let them know you support them and they aren't alone.  It is an emotional week and support is greatly appreciated, I think, by the LGBT community.  Supporting with dollars is helpful, but words of support are also critical.

Don't be afraid of LGBT cooties... I swear, we aren't contagious people.  We are just normal people trying to deal with events that are very personal.

What have been your experiences this week?  Please feel free to share and let's start the discussion that needs to be started!

Blog Post And Images (c) 2016 by Don Shetterly
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