Between the ages of 5 to 11, I had to learn to sleep with my unstable father pacing my bedroom with a loaded handgun. He’d smoke cigarettes, which created a red glow on his angry face: a face that gave me night terrors for decades. Our nightly bedtime routine consisted of me being forced to drink brandy until I passed out. And the morning conversations at the breakfast table were: “Show your gratitude; I didn’t kill you last night.” No child should ever spend years with a gun at the back of their head because lawmakers fail to protect them.
Present day, every time I see the media discussing gun violence, as a queer parent, I wonder if it’s safe to take my family anywhere. I’m now 45. How many more decades will I live in fear of guns? Even a simple traffic stop in Idaho landed me staring down a gun barrel because of the Pride stickers on my vehicle. When can we put humans over profits? Change the laws. Limit gun access. Stop telling educators to carry weapons. #GunViolenceSurvivors