‘Coming Out’ Stories: The Silver Lining of Orlando

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A silver lining is oftentimes difficult to see after a nation experiences an unimaginable travesty. Day in and day out, we’ve become plagued with bad news. Our reality has morphed into our nightmares quite seamlessly with talks of terrorism and yet another ISIS-inspired attack.

49. The number of souls lost. One community attacked. A nation affected. Hatred stemmed from hatred as a fire of rage grew from a shooting set to incite just that. As our eyes blurred with see, we saw only the vaguely lined path of revenge, redemption and a proliferation of further violence. So, who’s to blame? How will they pay? What does our pain cost?

The truth is, there isn’t a sum total that can repay the endless heartache. Revenge and redemption only lead to revenge and redemption, resulting in an infinite circle of devastation. Rather, let us focus on the good. While the impact of the Orlando shooting has spurred unconditional hate, it has also produced a pure form of goodness. As 49 souls were lost undeservedly so, another number of deserved lives began living.

Tanya Byrnes writes in the wake of the Orlando shooting, “It made my heart – my slightly battered, 40-year old heart – feel brand new, because this was my community. The community I joined when I finally said those words to my brother, ‘I’m gay.’ And for the first time in a long time, I feel safe.”

Before sitting down with his parents at the dinner table hours after the shooting, Carvin Casillas was a 19-year-old who frequented Pulse nightclub for over a year, unbeknownst to his parents. Casillas tells the New York Times the dinner conversation consisted him saying, “Dad, I’m kind of gay.”

Béatrice Martin, commonly referred to by her stage name, Coeur de Pirate, is a singer-songwriter based in Montreal. In the midst of raising her daughter, Martin, as a public figure, came out in the days after Orlando.

In an open letter, Martin writes, “I’m coming out for my daughter who needs to learn that love knows no race, religion, gender or orientation. Even though the family that she knew in the very beginning won’t be the same, she deserves all of the love that she needs or wants. I’m coming out for the victims that lost their lives because they wanted to celebrate who they truly were.”

Finally acknowledging her thoughts of women at the ripe age of 6 or 7, Martin confesses she had a kid and tried to suppress what she thought the world couldn’t handle. After seeing the world debate the equality of gay and straight, Martin says she wasn’t ready. That is until the shootings occurred.

In this fearful awakening, fearless individuals have surfaced. The Orlando shooting can stand as a reminder of the world and its unending rejection of what falls outside the established norm. Or, our nation can decide to honor the 49 lives lost and the bravery they stand for. These 49 people, human beings, courageous individuals embraced a life many are scared to lead. Let us embrace them.

Let’s choose to see the thin, but promising silver lining. Let us choose a positive path of redemption.

Hailing from Ewing, I'm a Jersey girl through and through meaning endless bagels and constantly defending the state from the stereotypes of Snooki and the rest of the Jersey Shore cast. I love the red carpet of any and all award shows and shamelessly indulge in Fashion Police the next day with an even greater intrigue. I'm an avid Netflix binge-watcher, but could also be perfectly content traveling around Europe with a few of the classics and a map in my bag.

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