#Orlando

This morning I woke up just like it was a regular morning. I cooked breakfast in much of a joyous mood that was immediately struck down by the headlines that scrolled across my TV. Yes, America has its history of these types of tragedies, but this one was different. This one was not just another attack on my people, but the deadliest U.S. mass shooting ever of its kind, and I took it personally. 2 o'clock last night there was a mass shooting at the LGBTQ Pulse nightclub - just 20 minutes away from me. On this particular night, I chose to not go out, but unfortunately, there are 50 others that weren't that lucky and 53 others grateful to grasp another breath in just a little over a 300 numbered crowd. A night full of Latin celebration and happiness turned into a nightmare all because of a single man who brewed such an undesirable hate for our sexual orientation. In an instant, I immediately rushed down to donate blood, but I can't deny my surprise to see the outpour of people who had done the same – both gay and straight. I was next in line … but I was turned around. Not because they had enough blood, but according to the FDA, it was because I had sex with another man within the past 12 months. By law, I've been prohibited from saving my own. 

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America's inclusiveness has been tested, yet again. Many woke up in a confused state wondering where we went wrong as a country, but as a member of the LGBTQ community, I was one of many who wondered why we still put so much trust in a country that has made it nearly impossible for us to live, as several law makers constantly use us as their definitions of abnormality. Even in the midst of such tragedy, the idiocracy of many have made this a political battle. Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump is calling for "toughness in this radical Islamic terrorism" to push for the islamophobia of his platform while others appreciate his sentiments, yet neglect the sole issue behind this hate crime because they live in fear of the homosexual community. Many were urged to donate blood after the shooting, but gay men were banned – by law. This could be irony, but this only adds insult to injury. Yes, HIV is a supreme epidemic, but it's almost as if you are insinuating these men are not smart enough to know their status before they help their peers. This should be an issue that brings about the concern of guns and national security since the gunman's name was on the terror watch list, but even more concerning is the amount of neglect of a hate crime of this caliber at the mainstream level. What's, even more, heart shattering is a man was arrested for suspicious behavior as he was traveling to the LA Pride Parade with assault rifles and bomb materials within exactly 12 hours of this exact incident. This is not just a gay issue nor is it just an Orlando issue; we have a much bigger issue on our hands. How many more of our American people in the deemed "land of freedom" must be killed before our voices are heard?