Orlando 12/06/16

I know I usually post baking related topics and recipes but this post is different. Given the recent tragic event in Orlando there are a few things I wanted to write about. If this isn’t to your liking, don’t worry – normal baking service will resume soon enough.

We have a good life. My husband works hard in a well paid job, I work hard trying to run my own business. We have two wonderful children, full of bubbling life and precocious joy. We all live in a nice house, eat well and are healthy. According to all the stats we’re pretty much the text-book perfect gay family.

But what happened on June 12th at Pulse nightclub in Orlando shook us.

You can say that this is a baking blog and as such real-life events, or those of a moral slant, have no place here. But what I will say is that before the buttercream, brownies and weird flavoured bakes I am a gay man, a father and member of the LGBTQ community. And the homophobic attack in Orlando has effected me.

Sunday morning I came down to breakfast to see a worried look on my husband’s face. “Have you seen the news? Look at it”, he said. That’s how it started. We watched throughout the day as developments unfolded.

Last evening my husband and I were faced with a hard decision- do we tell out kids about what happened or do we leave it go without comment and dull all mention of the horrible event within our four walls? We had an unspoken debate looking at each other, painfully weighing up the course of action. We opted to tell them. Now I’m sure there are those of you that maybe disagree with this and have the opinion that there was no need for this course of action. And that’s fine- it’s your opinion. But we want to raise our children as strong, proud and caring individuals. Strong in the face of adversity when they meet it in the world. To think that the world is an easy place and there will not be trying times or people is just plain foolish- and we sure as hell aren’t teaching our kids to be fools! To be proud of who they are, that they have two dads, that they are loved and the place this love comes from. Compassionate towards others who may be victims of any adversity or tragedy, and understand that not everyone may be able to cope with hard times.

Heaven forbid that such a travesty ever occur again but I would like to think that our children would be in that line up to give blood. Or standing in that vigil. Or donating to that cause. We are trying to raise our children to have the pride and strength to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in solidarity and love when needed. Sometimes doing this is not easy.

It’s a very strange state of feeling. I didn’t know anyone at the attack. By all accounts I should be unaffected- read the news reports with sympathetic acknowledgment and carry on with my daily routine. But I find myself unable to read or watch anything about the Pulse shooting without welling up. I feel extreme sadness there that such a mindless action can utterly decimate innocent lives. An occasion of laughter and joy ripped asunder and left in ruins set to the soundtrack of fearful mobile phones and sirens.

I find myself frustrated. Angry that some people are trying to pass it off (with the aim of political point-scoring) as a topical “Terrorist Attack” rather than the blatant homophobic strike that it was. That the powers in charge appear not to be able to see the wood for the trees. This was also problem with gun-laws not bureaucratical borders. It will remain as such until the US government acts to change these said laws.

I am afraid too. Afraid that what has happened in Orlando will inspire some deluded, hateful individual closer to home and that London will be next. That the news reports could involve  me, or my husband or our friends. I worry about my kids. Would someone target them because they have gay dads. Will they grow up to be targets of someone’s insane, incomprehensible hate. Can we ever really prepare them for world in which such actions can happen?

Like I said a very strange state of feeling.

However, in the face of the tragedy there has also been an igniting and tempering of human spirit within the LGBTQ community. Numerous vigils held around the world portrayed not the love that dare not speak its name, but one that stood together side by side and sang it in glorious technicolor. Streets full to bursting point with not a foot of pavement to be seen. Age, race, color, creed, and sex all pushed aside, rendered irrelevant in the face of unifying support between lesbians, gay men, trans and straight allies.  The various news reports in the aftermath showed people holding signs with slogans that didn’t call for revenge or retribution. “Love is Love”; “Love Wins”; “We stand with Orlando” were just a few of the ones I remember seeing. Testaments to the global, unconditional love between strangers and friends alike.

I am in no way drawing comparison between my feelings and those of the people involved in the Pulse shooting, or their loved ones. Their grief is their own and no one can take that away, nor have the audacity to think so. Mine is but one more voice to add to the chorus of support that has risen around the world. As I mentioned- I had a few things I wanted to say and if you can relate, well…you’re not alone in feeling so.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

This post is dedicated to all those who lost their lives in the Pulse shooting on June 12th 2016, the survivors, their families and friends.

“All that remained in the box was Hope. It fluttered from the box like a beautiful dragonfly, touching the wounds created by the evil creatures, and healing them. Even though Pandora had released pain and suffering upon the world, she had also allowed Hope to follow them.”


2 thoughts on “Orlando 12/06/16

  1. Beautiful Gavan. I can’t express how deeply this tragedy has had an effect on me and many people in my life and your words made my very emotional. Your children are very lucky to have you and Scott as their parents. Keep sharing that wonderful love with your family and friends! Helen xoxo

  2. We are first and foremost human our sexuality religious affiliations and nationality are nothing against how we as individual act when faced with horror and suffering of others. The outpouring of love and grief for those we have never met, gives me some hope for a better stronger future.

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