One Year Later, Reflections On the Pulse NightClub Shooting

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It’s been one year since the Pulse Nightclub shooting where 49 people were shot in a popular gay club. For me, the pain is still fresh.

Immediately after the shooting, I saw this quote on Instagram: “If you can’t wrap your head around a bar or club as a sanctuary, you’ve probably never been afraid to hold someone’s hand in public.” As a queer teen, those words hit me hard.

I relate to the need to find a kind of sanctuary. I have my own safe spaces–though they tend to be virtual.

Social media has been my refuge since middle school. I started out blogging about Britney Spears, One Direction, and Glee. As time went on, my pop culture posts evolved into passionate conversations about feminism, race and queer rights.

Through social media, I found an accepting community. These online friends supported me when I hadn’t come out to my real life friends. I felt safe and free to be myself.

For me and millions of other young queer people, losing our safe spaces would feel like losing our identities. For places where that sanctuary has been desecrated, we must use that identity to rebuild.


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