Matthew Hays writes about the nightmarish events at Pulse, and what led us to this moment:
I think I first saw it when I would make the pilgrimage from Montreal to Toronto for the country's largest Pride celebrations, in the 90s. There I would join thousands of others as we would march down the streets, eventually stopping to party enthusiastically in the streets, often kissing one another, sometimes removing much of our clothing, always celebrating the fact that, on this day at least, we had nothing to hide and everything to celebrate.
It's not really like that on most days, when LGBT people have to watch what they say and how they act in public. I remember seeing Christian extremists protesting on the sidelines of the parade. “What's stopping them?” I would ask myself.
Hays connects the violence at Pulse with violence against other minority groups—and it's increasing, not decreasing, as these groups ask for and get more power:
It happened to women famously in Montreal with the Polytéchnique massacre of 1989. There's a long history of it happening to African Americans, most recently last year, when Dylann Roof opened fire inside a predominantly African-American church in South Carolina, killing nine. For whatever reason, people feel threatened when people who have been shut out of power ask to have some. It sounds like a simple equation, but it's the ugly truth.
Read the rest of his essay here.