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Matt McLean: ‘The Orlando shootings made me scared to be gay’

The former TVNZ journalist has penned a heartfelt letter about turning fear in to strength following the attack in Florida.
Matt McLean: 'The Orlando shootings made me scared to be gay'

Former TVNZ journalist Matt McLean is holidaying on the other side of the world, but after the recent Orlando shootings he was prompted to write a heartfelt opinion piece about how the attack has made him afraid to be a gay man.

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In the letter, published on entertainment website Spy, Matt tells how when he came out as a 20-year-old, the LGBT community made him feel “free from fear or judgement, and it felt fantastic”.

“But this weekend, one of those spaces became terrifyingly unsafe,” the 29-year-old wrote.

“The deaths of approximately 50 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida is the deadliest shooting in US history. That, in itself, is horrific.

“But this wasn’t a mass shooting at a place that just happened to be a gay bar. This took place because Pulse is a gay bar. Because the man behind the attack wanted to prey on members of the LGBT community. In their safe space.

“And it made me mad as hell. But it also made me feel scared. Scared to be gay. And that’s a feeling I haven’t had in a very, very long time.”

Matt, who quit his job at TVNZ earlier this year to travel the world, went on to say how despite the violence, he has turned his “fear into strength”.

“I heard my best mate Jack Tame report from Orlando and talk about the humanity of the situation there. It reminded me that the world is still full of love and hope and compassion.”

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