“The one place….”

letter to the New York Times, 6/17/20.  Anderson Cooper said he felt that most LGBT guys felt the same way about gay bars; they were a safe haven—-but no more.

To the Editor:

I have not had an event move me like this since 9/11, leaving me feeling devastated to my very core. The massacre at Pulse was an attack on the L.G.B.T.Q. community, my friends, my family of choice and me. It has changed how I view life and this world — not for the better, but maybe a return to reality.

Through the years, I’ve had to understand the risk that by simply walking down the street with my friends I could be attacked — and how much the risk escalated if I held the hand of my date or kissed his cheek. For a while, I hid my true self in an effort to fit in and be accepted. Thankfully, those days are long behind me.

What has shaken me is that for many of us the one place where we could always feel safe and find sanctuary was our bars and clubs. Here we could forget for an hour, an evening, that there are many in our world who view us as less than equal. We could simply have fun and enjoy life.

It’s up to all of us — gay, straight, still figuring it out — to drive the change we want to see. It’s simply time that we demand legislation that puts sensible gun laws in place. More people have been killed by guns since 1968 than killed in all the wars combined. If we think this is O.K. as a nation, the sun will never rise.

DAVID VARNER

Los Angeles

To the Editor:

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