Making Gay Friends Post-Orlando

Sam Allberry | August 5, 2016

Hugely dramatic events tend to take over the meaning of the names of the places that witness them. Whatever a place-name’s literal meaning might be, its cultural and historical significance ends up being tied to what happened there. Take Hiroshima. It might literally translate as “wide island,” but that’s no longer its cultural meaning for us. It has become a byword for the first-ever application of atomic warfare.

The same is sadly true for any number of places that have borne witness to awful tragedy. We think, even just recently, of Newtown, Connecticut; of Fort Hood, Texas; of San Bernardino, California. And now, as well, we think of Orlando, Florida.

It’s already been several weeks since a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. The news cycle has moved on. Flags are back at full mast. But the aftereffects of this tragedy continue to be widely felt. Not just in the immediate families and communities of those taken from them, but in the wider culture too.

Those of us not in the LGBTQ community often don’t appreciate how frightening the world can be for them. Although Western culture has changed dramatically in recent years, and…

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