Orlando: Is There Anywhere Safe Left?
I spent a lot of my twenties socialising in gay bars and clubs.
The majority of my best pals were all of the LGBT community and so wherever they went to party, I would happily follow.
I was never really the kind of girl who wanted to go to crowded straight clubs to get shit-faced on Bacardi Breezers and groped on the dance floor by some opportunistic asshole.
I mean, I DID do all that, but I didn't really enjoy myself.
When I went out, I wanted to dance with great friends all night and sit up drinking wine and solving the problems of the world, right into daylight.
That was my idea of a great time.
Furthermore, it was way more safe for me.
My LGBT family enveloped me with their love, watched out for me, knew where I was at all times and showered me with euphoric waves of laughter and compliments.
I never felt threatened, I never felt out of my depth, I never felt like I shouldn't have been there.
I was with my people.
I was guaranteed to go to bed at some point with a content smile on my face that we had, yet again, celebrated being alive, young and carefree together in the most positive way.
And I'm one of the straight ones.
If that's the sanctity that I felt, imagine what those gay bars and clubs and venues mean to the LGBT community.
To say that I was depressed about the Orlando shooting in Pulse nightclub on Saturday night is an understatement.
I couldn't look at the faces of my innocent children and had to excuse myself from the room as the news came in.
I had to cry away from their sensitive eyes, searching every news item to find out who could have done such a thing, and how they could elect to bring such evil into such a safe space for so many.
It would have been easier, in my opinion, to blame a religious extremist group who hates everyone who doesn't share their beliefs - but that this one man specifically targeted LGBT people.. my people, our people.. is a gut-wrenching blow.
We can add gay clubs to the list of other places that are now marred with the touch of the hateful – children's playgrounds, aeroplanes, rock concerts, places of worship, primary schools, high-rise office blocks, shopping districts, high schools, movie theatres - it's becoming very difficult to think of anywhere as perfectly safe these days.
Fear is something we are told not to give into - that this kind of mass shooting or a terrorist attack will win if we give into our fear of them.
I know this won't be a popular stance to take but you know what? I AM scared.
I'm scared for the world, I'm scared for the future and I'm scared for my children.
Haters, terrorists all, please hear me – you win. I am afraid.
If that's what you want to hear so that you will stop fighting then I give up and into fear, I do.
Can you stop killing us now, please?
With love to all of the victims of the Orlando shooting. Rest In Peace.