Orlando’s Extraordinary Stories

1 min
at 11:43 PM

Just the other day I was having dinner with friends, a gay couple, in San Francisco. Their two little toddlers were babbling happily. The dads were heating up their food while I was perched at the kitchen counter with a glass of white wine looking at the rolling San Francisco hills, the tendrils of fog and a giant rainbow flag fluttering in the lazy afternoon light. Soon it would be LGBTQ Pride in San Francisco. It was gaily tranquil.

Barely a week later when we talk about gays in America we think of a slaughter in a nightclub in Orlando. The killer apparently had been violently repulsed seeing two men kiss in Miami. But the man who could not avert his eyes from two men kissing has inadvertently focused the world's eyes on gay lives.

These are not lives of activists or celebrities. A barista. An accountant. A drag queen. By some strange twist of fate, the killer did what he never intended. He took ordinary lives of gay people and made them extraordinary.

Juan Ramon Guerrero had gone to the club with his boyfriend. He had come out only recently and was nervous about his family reaction. Now Juan's father says the two young men will have a funeral together no matter what people think.

These are small slivers of humanity to hold on to in a tragedy so senseless. But the only guarantee we have for life after carnage is the sheer resilience of the human spirit. My friends will still put their children to bed and brush their teeth. A grieving mother will still cook her son's favorite dishes for his birthday even if he is gone. And through this web of ordinary acts of human decency we will muster the strength to survive the horror.

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With a Perspective, I am Sandip Roy.

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Sandip Roy is a novelist and journalist.

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