Mary Steadman Photography » photography

Masthead header

A Letter to My Children About Orlando

My babies, my dears, my hearts, I love you more than words can ever express.  My heart is filled beyond it’s limits when I only think of what you mean to me.  You both have given more meaning to the words family and love and pride than I knew was possible.  And as a mommy knows all, I know that your momma feels the same.

pray for orlando

This past weekend has changed me and everything I thought I knew about safety and protection and freedom to be who we are.  There was a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.  I’m sure one day you will read about this in a text book in High School, although I can’t promise all of the details will be included.  To date, this was the largest mass shooting in our Nations History.  This shooting was at a gay bar.  This man targeted LGBTQ people.  In the shock and sorrow and outrage I see people mocking the tragedy:

Man I don’t know what’s better that fact that gays were killed or the fact that the killer was Muslim and a Democrat. 😂😂😂 #Orlando #Shooting
9:57 AM – 12 Jun 2016

and this from the Republican nominee for President of the United States of America:

Donald J. Trump ‏@realDonaldTrump Jun 12
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!At least 20 people are killed and more than 42 hurt in a shooting described as an act of terrorism at a gay nightclub in the Florida city

This is 2016.  2016.  We have laws now that protect us from being fired from certain jobs, laws that prosecute crimes against LGBTQ people as hate crimes, laws that allow us to be legally married and enjoy the same rights granted to all married couples, we have come so far in recent history thanks to the activists that have paved the way.  People have died trying to gain basic civil rights for our LGBTQ community.  Your momma and I had a Commitment Ceremony almost 10 years ago, that’s all we were allowed to do in 2007.  The day same sex marriage became legal, we rushed to the courthouse to say “I do” legally.  It was so important to us to be able to have this as part of our story, as part of your stories.  I honestly felt safe to introduce your momma as my wife, since it was recognized by the Supreme Court of the United States as a marriage.  How naive.

I want to be able to tell you that as long as I am here you will be safe with me, that nothing could ever harm you, but unfortunately I know that I can’t keep that promise.  I know too well that my promise to “always come back” doesn’t hold much weight.  To be perfectly honest, I’m scared.  I’m scared that one night Mommy and Momma will go out on a Date Night and never come back home to you.  I’m scared that one day you will be forced into difficult situations where you may have to hide who your family is for you to avoid danger yourself.  I’m scared to leave my door unlocked.  I am scared for Spanish friends who express fear that of their two daughters, one may be able to pass as white but the other one is darker and will likely face discrimination as she gets older.  I’m scared that I may be able to pass as straight but other more butch lesbians won’t.  I’m scared but as I always tell you, we can do scary things.  It will be hard, but we can do hard things.

What I can control is what you learn from me.  I want you to learn love.  I want you to learn honesty.  I want you to learn pride.  And humility.  I want you to learn that this life was given to you so that you can do scary, hard, and great things.  I want you to learn that you are capable of standing up to intolerance and bigotry.  But most of all, I want you to learn empathy.  Learn how to listen to others stories and find a way to care for them in their journey, even if the journey is different than yours.  Learn how to share your heart openly and freely for the betterment of others.  Learn how to ask yourself and others how will my actions change this outcome.  Learn how to love. Everyone.

Send Mea message ShareOn Facebook Tweetto twitter Pin topinterest NEWSLETTERSubscribe