My partner and I instantly recalled the bombing of a London gay pub n 1999. Numerous incidents of violence against LGBT people hit the mass media, such as Daesh hurling people off high buildings in accord with their reading of the Koran. There are plenty more incidents around the world that never reach the headlines, and even more that are never reported to start with because people don't see the point, are too afraid of further reprisals (or losing their jobs etc. as a result of the kind of public prejudice that makes violence commonplace to begin with), or live in countries where the police are no less brutal and bigoted than their attackers.
I've recorded a story of same-sex love between humans and Gods, from a period in time when such things were mostly accepted and often celebrated rather than met with murder. Things weren't completely perfect in the pagan past, but sufficiently better to provide inspiration for those of us who would like to see such humane values return.
I've never been physically assaulted, and realise how lucky that makes me in a world where brutality and prejudice is actually the norm. I've got friends who have been beaten up more than once. That I've got to middle age in safety is a minor miracle, and one that is not guaranteed to last forever. The next lunatic with a gun or a bomb might target some venue I or one of my friends or loved ones are attending.
This story is about Hyakinthos, a warrior prince of Sparta, who became a demigod after death. Every June the Spartans held a three-day festival (precise dates unknown), the first day to mourn the prince's murder and the next two to celebrate his resurrection to the land of the Gods. A gentle suggestion, but perhaps my pagan LGBT and allied friends would like to hold the Hyakinthia this year - a day to commemorate all those LGBT people killed in violence (not only in Orlando, but everywhere) perhaps with poetry and a vigil by candlelight, perhaps with peaceful protests... and two days to rejoice in the "resurrection" of acceptance and the celebration of consensual sexuality and gender variance. The details of what happened at the original Hyakinthos are unknown, but the festival of that other dying deity Adonis was marked by people planting fast growing seeds in body-shaped pots (something like a gingerbread man shape, I assume) and using them to decorate their homes. As Hyakinthos became a flower at death - some historians argue the iris or larkspur rather than the modern hyacinth pant - maybe something involving planting out beautifully coloured displays and gifting them to decent people might be a good feature to include?
Some people might want to mark the festival alone, others in community. I rather feel the need to gather with others (if I can find anyone to gather with!)