Photocredit - Sandy Huffaker/AFP/Getty

Jamie Jenkins, former Vice-Chair of the national Youth Committee, offers this personal reflection on the mass-murders at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

So I’ve had a couple of days to digest what happened in Orlando, the various responses to it all, and how ultimately it’s left me feeling. And to say heartbroken and sad is an understatement.

The press have tried to pass this awful situation off as a terrorist attack, because the gunman was a Muslim, and because ISIS have claimed responsibility. That is a load of crap! This wasn’t a pre planned attack, where the main aim was to hurt and kill as many people as possible, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or religious beliefs.

This was a targeted attack on LGBT people, because the individual had an issue with LGBT people. Or to give it its proper name, a hate crime. When a group of lads choose to target a gay lad or lass walking home after a night out, and physically and verbally abuse them, you don’t call it a terrorist attack, you call it a hate crime. This is no different.

So how fucking dare people try and tell US how we should view this attack on our community! It’s hardly surprising though, given that ‘THEY’ have been telling the gay community how to live for too long!

They told us we were illegal, simply because we love people of the same sex. We had to fight to get that changed. Even then, they told us at what age we were allowed to have sexual relations with people that we loved, and we had to fight to get that changed.

They told us we weren’t allowed to adopt, despite us wanting to be parents to abandoned children who simply wanted a parents love. We had to fight to change that.

They told us we weren’t allowed to get married. We had to fight to change that. Even then they told us we could only have civil partnerships, just to remind us that we were 2nd class citizens. We had to fight that to get full marriage equality.

And then there’s the fights still to come. Every day we are condemned by them for our ‘lifestyle choices’, called unnatural, immoral and perverted, sometimes referred to as paedophiles. We have to endure verbal and physical abuse, name calling, staring at us in public. Hell, some of them even come into the community we’ve created as a safe haven from such abuse, just to gawk at us like attractions in a zoo.

And it angers me. In a world with so so many evil people in it, how anyone can view two people being in love as a bad thing? With all the war and conflict going on around us, love is all we have to keep us going.

And yet our love isn’t worthy of equal recognition.

Thankfully, most of the people who’ll read this aren’t one of ‘them’. Because I surround myself with people I love and care about. I only hope that one day in the not too distant future, that that is all that counts. Love.