Today is a big day - not just because I'm currently on a plane to Hawaii for the second time this year (WHAAAAT?!) but because one year ago TODAY the US Supreme Court ruled that individual states can no longer keep same-sex couples from marrying!!! Gay Marriage Won! (is that a thing? Can Gay Marriage win? In my book it did.)
Two of my best friends who got married last year were featured on Buzzfeed celebrating the win in the Supreme Court, and we couldn't have been more proud (mostly about the ruling, although being featured on Buzzfeed was pretty cool, too).
While our country still has a lonnnnnng way to go with so many other things - racial equality, gender equality, trans equality and protection, possibly electing Drumpf as president, still making cinnamon toast with raisins in it... (anyone?) last year's triumph was a big deal for me. I honestly wasn't sure if my country would ever be able to get over this hurdle of ignorance, but I'm so glad we did. Something I have fought for in my life actually happened!! That's a pretty good feeling, and it gives me hope. It gives me hope for the future- that no matter how dire things feel, no matter how hopeless they seem right now- we are making progress. Things are getting better- always moving forward, even though sometimes we are forced to take a few steps back.
With PRIDE celebrations all over the country, and the ability to share in these events via snapchat or instagram, or ye olde-fashioned text, it makes me happy to see so many people out supporting our LGBTQ+ community. With vibrant costumes, fun dance parties, family outings, small gatherings of friends - however you're celebrating PRIDE this month brings strength to our community still reeling from such a horrible hate-fueled tragedy just two weeks ago.
I just wanted to make a little post marking the one year anniversary of something positive - something that makes me happy - something that we fought for and won. Something that gives me hope in these dark days after the Orlando shooting. I know a lot of people have moved on, or perhaps even forgotten that the Orlando shooting even happened - but I can't move past it yet. I may never be able to. But hate won't win. Not now, not ever.
The night the shooting happened, I was photographing the most amazing lesbian wedding. Not only was it a giant mansion filled with a few hundred beautiful, loving smart, funny, gay and straight people who were celebrating two women deep in love- but a giant double rainbow danced across the sky during the reception long enough for everyone to go outside and have a gaytastic (made-up term- feel free to use it) photoshoot underneath the colors. To wake up the next morning and hear the news about the Pulse nightclub murders brought me to tears as my heart broke for the friends and family of those killed, and also for our entire LGBTQ+ community as a whole.
Eccchhh- I hate to even give that horrific event time in my mind or space in my heart- but we have to acknowledge that this tragedy happened so we can make sure it never happens again.
I don't have all the answers, but we need to stop the hate. We must stop allowing the bigotry and ignorance to breed fear and hatred.
Love has to win.