Yesterday evening, a whole heap of people in Leicester headed to the town hall square, where we held, along with cities up and down the country, and indeed, all over the world, a vigil for the victims of the shooting in Orlando on Sunday.
I went with my friend Kim, the children and a whole load of their friends. We held in our hearts thoughts of other friends who could not be there, but who totally would have been if there was any way they could have.
We made banners, and the kids painted their faces, and it felt good to be doing something positive at a time when so much hatred is swishing around.
It was wonderful to see people we knew, and meet people we didn’t, all of whom had come together with a common purpose.
I was so proud of my children and their friends. They really do give me hope. They are amazing without even trying to be amazing. Their tolerance, their acceptance, their ability to love without judgement is an object lesson to every person who moans about the youth of today.
I’d take them any time over most of the elderly of today.
In the quiet that swelled around the circle we had made, in the hands we held that linked people of all colours, creeds, ages, genders and sexual orientations, we joined with each other to make something positive out of something negative.
We came to light a candle against the darkness.
We came to celebrate those whose lives were so senselessly taken.
We came to show other people who believe that to be gay or queer, or trans, or bi, or whatever you want to be in whatever skin you want to inhabit is evil and wrong and should be hidden away or worse, destroyed, that it is nothing of the sort.
We came to show people that we want to make a world where people who are different do not have to hide away any more.
We came to show tolerance.
We came to show love.
It was pretty wonderful.
It isn’t going to bring those poor men and women back. It isn’t going to make homophobia go away overnight. It isn’t going to stop people being hateful to those who are different. I know that.
It isn’t a magic wand, but it is one more step out of the darkness.