The hours may be passing but the horror is not. People like you, and me out dancing with friends, celebrating, loving, laughing. Gone. Just gone. Taken because of whom they’ve chosen to love. Taken in a place that somehow angered a man fuelled by hatred and bigotry. Taken too soon.
Taken from a gay community that, just like mine, has built itself up through years of adversity and struggle. Taken in a gay club that, just like mine, was filled with the kind of people you see every week. The guy in the leather by the bar, the cutie who can never quite sort his dance moves out, the dear who always loves to make an entrance, the party girl you can always rely on for a giggle, the DJ you’re always pleased to see behind the decks, the love you’ve fallen for and cannot wait to see again. The wonders that make our scene, who have created and built our communities and made our LGBT+ world brighter and better and bolder.
LGBT+ nightclubs are more than just a collection of people losing it in the dark to BPMs. We are a collective who’ve worked their way out from closets, faced bigotry, and prejudice and come out stronger. Together. As DJ and producer Ian Lavine said in 1984 of the importance of nightclubs to LGBT+ culture, ‘every person has to go through a period of soul searching before coming out and it takes great courage…we are entitled to a space where we can relax and socialise with our own kind”.
Without the structure, finances and supportive networks provided by gay clubs and their clientele, LGBT+ life would be very different. Which ever version of clubbing you choose to make your home, queer, alt, disco, bear, house, mainstream, r’n’b, bhangra or indie, LGBT+ clubs are often the first to fundraise and sponsor local and national Pride events and festivals, provide platforms for sexual health outreach projects and deliver a roots of our community. Joining us together, regardless of gender, race or creed, the LGBT+ scene delivers visibility and support that continues to reach beyond the dancefloor.
So today we shall come together once again – on the dancefloor, on the streets, in our clubs, bars, churches and community centres and remember the 49 souls we lost in Orlando. Because that feeling that it could of been us, me, you, that won’t pass. Because in hurting members of our LGBT+ family, where ever they be in the world be it in Orlando, Bangladesh, Kenya, Maryland, Philadelphia, Buenos Aires, Detroit, Jerusalem, Tamba Bay, El Salvador, Wisconsin, Ohio, Olonagapo, Hollywood, Daveyton, Hatey, Ibatiba, Cuiaba, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janerio, Cameroon, Guyana, Syria or Iraq, the murderous bigots hurt us.
And by feeling that hurt we will become stronger. We will continue to defy the hatred with Pride. On the dancefloor, in the clubs, on the streets, at Pride events across the globe, this day, the next day, every day. Love will win.