Love “Won,” But Did It Really?

Every morning, I wake up to a notification from Timehop, an app that shows my posts from different social media outlets from the last few years. As I looked at the app this morning, I saw that I tweeted and retweeted a bunch of tweets with the hashtag: #lovewins exactly one year ago. This means that on this day, one year ago, gay marriage became legal.

My initial thought was: how amazing. How amazing it is that life has changed so much from the past year. The LGBTQ community has made major strides towards nationwide acceptance this past year. It’s only been a year and I forgot that gay marriage was ever illegal. Transgender bathroom laws have made it acceptable for all people to feel comfortable in public and choose their own paths. Our political representatives and presidential candidates now stand by the LGBTQ community, rather than fight it. Since love won, so many people have felt comfortable coming out to their friends and family. This decision made by the Supreme Court made people feel comfortable to be themselves finally! At this point, all people became equal in terms of the ability to marry. We are becoming more accepting as a nation, and that is an amazing thing.

That was my initial thought. But then my mind wandered over to the Orlando shooting at the Pulse nightclub, a popular gay bar. Omar Mateen’s attack (supposedely associated with ISIS) was clearly an assault on the LGBTQ community. Our country was making such great strides towards acceptance and then someone from our own country went ahead and made direct attacks at this community that had come so far in the past year. Now, you may think: well, that’s just a single person. There are over 300 million people living in the United States. Everyone is grieving for the people lost in the shooting right now, but how do you know, deep down, some people don’t agree with the shooter? This shooting displayed the fact that some people in this country will always remain fearful and intolerant of the LGBTQ community. Homophobia, something we thought was close to eradication, evidently remains a prevalent issue in this country.

And maybe that’s because being gay doesn’t fit in with some people’s religious views. ISIS, as well as other terrorist groups that have infiltrated our country, is extremely anti-gay. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, ISIS has killed at least 25 people in Syria just for being gay. Terrorist groups are regressing us as a country, pushing us backwards, back to where we started. The LGBTQ community, who had once felt safe after gay marriage became legal, has now been put back into danger. Our country neared complete acceptance; terrorist groups and Omar Mateen have now shown that we are far from acceptance.

Some minds may never change. I suppose there’s not much we can do about it. But we can remain hopeful and continue to express our support for the LGBTQ community. A number of rallies and parades arose after the shooting, showing  that the LGBTQ movement, while still a work-in-progress, has come so far and can’t be knocked down by anything. Love will always win, no matter what obstacles are thrown at it.

Lainey Shapiro

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