It’s Pride weekend in Denver, and it feels a little different.

This week has been a little off for me, and if you’re a living, breathing, human, maybe you’ve felt it to. When I woke up last Sunday and picked up my phone to see the news of what had happened in Orlando, my heart sank. I spent the morning crying, and the rest of the day was spent trying not to cry.

I spent a significant part of my early 20s in gay bars with my gay friends. They are the people who I’ve shared some of my life’s most complicated and fulfilling friendships with. What happened in Orlando may have been on the other side of the country, but it felt so close and so personal. I could picture what that club looked like at that hour. I could picture the people waiting to get one more drink at last call or pay their tabs. I could picture the clothes they were wearing, the dancing, the smiles. I could hear the laughter. When the names of those who were killed started being released, I felt like I was hearing the names of people I know.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about the ugliness of the world and trying to figure out how I can channel how I feel to something positive and helpful. It can be so paralyzing for someone who just wants to fix things. I’ve thought about what more I can do. I even felt guilty for not being as present and involved in the LGBT community as I once was. When Paris was attacked, I wrote about how easy it is to feel helpless, and the one thing we can control is how we treat other people. That’s still true, but it only goes so far.

I don’t want to make this a political post. The only thing I’ll say is that getting rid of hateful ideas is near impossible, but it is possible to get rid of or severely restrict the tools that hateful people use to unleash their hate on innocent people. I’m talking about guns if you didn’t get that. Write your representative, and most of all, vote in November.

It’s been a few years since I’ve been a full participant in Pride festivities because I have a harder time with crowds of drunk people in 100-degree heat than I did in my early 20s. I still think of my friends every year. I hope they are having fun, not getting too hammered, and staying hydrated. Seriously you guys, it’s called water. Drink some.

I want to wish all of my LGBT friends a Happy Pride. Know that I am in your corner, and I am here for you. I may not see all of you as much as I used to, but nothing has changed about my love and support for you. I will support you with my words and with the way I  cast my vote. I vow to never allow anyone to speak hatefully about you in my presence and to promote love in all its forms.


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