What will the Orlando tragedy mean for my kids?

IMG_20160526_210732For about a year, my 5-year-old daughter decided she wanted to be a lesbian. I don’t think she totally knew what it meant, but she was used to me encouraging her to be and love anyone — boy or girl. Maybe my repeated emphasis on “love is love” slanted her decision, but it made me proud, too. It still does, but it makes me scared now, too. Knowing that transgender people can’t use the bathroom of their choice seemed oppressive and immoral a few weeks ago, but after the tragedy in Orlando, I am suffocating in sadness.

It is too tragic to comprehend.

I want my kids to grow up to be whoever they want to be, but not if it means they’re going to be gunned down. On the other hand, I want my kids to go to get an education and grow up, too. Should I let Sandy Hook and Columbine scare me out of sending them to school?

It seems like there will always be another tragedy, as long as the NRA allows such unrestricted access to assault weapons, and it makes me feel so helpless. All I can do is sign petition after petition, support every effort to raise funds and awareness for the Pulse victims and LGBTQ communities around the world, and ‘Like’ every article posted remembering the beautiful victims that were so heartlessly massacred this past weekend in Orlando.

I could urge my kids to do whatever it takes to fit in. When they’re old enough to hear the horror stories of such senseless acts of hatred and destruction, I could beg my kids to be straight and “normal” and to lay low and stay out of harms way. I could beg them never to go to nightclubs, or fast food restaurants, or even the post office. But I can’t, I don’t want to, and I don’t even think it would help because harms way is rarely in the same place twice.

Who knows if my daughter will grow up to be a lesbian, and who cares. What I want is for her to grow up. Preferably in a world with stronger laws on gun control, more laws supporting the rights of LGBTQ people–equality for all people–and no more hate.

That should not be so much to ask.