This has been a challenging year. I mean, hasn’t it? No matter which way you look at it, whether you’re into politics or you’re still aching over Copa America Centenario, or just trying to live your daily life, 2016 is a year full of challenges.

For me, my thinking has been challenged in a number of ways. I’ve had to look at presidential politics in new ways. I’ve had to change how I look at my job, in fact even re-apply for it because the position itself was replaced! And presently I am challenged (yet again) with choosing how to view terrorism and crime in this country. But while that’s all going on, maybe there’s another way your thinking and mine could be challenged, too.

Have you ever subscribed to the stereotype that gay men are effeminate, “mamby pamby” sorts that run around flailing their arms and talking with a lisp? A lot of people do – that’s why there’s the stereotype! Whether it’s comedy from Mel Brooks or a derisive remark made by someone who dislikes gays, we’ve all been exposed to this overly broad depiction. The one that makes gay people look weak and dependent.

Let me propose to you that may not be a remotely accurate description at all.

Every victim or eyewitness I have seen give an interview on television since this horrific shooting in Orlando has relayed an account of bravery and heroism. We’re talking about people who would run for their lives choosing instead to stay behind to carry bodies out of the nightclub. I saw a man on Sunday morning interviewed while standing in a concourse where hundreds of Floridians waited to give blood. He was there looking for his friend, if he were alive, whom he had not seen since escaping the club some hours before.

Shooting survivor of Orlando Pulse terrorist attack goes On The Record

In another interview I saw today on FOX, a young man had earlier learned his partner was killed when they were separated the night of the shooting. He sat there and calmly gave his recollection of events, and went on to describe how they met, and their three years together. When asked how he could bear to talk about this, he replied, “The thing is that, if I don’t get the story out there, who’s going to do it?”

I applaud that.

Maybe it is because of the many battles gay people face, from rejecting insults to ignoring prejudices, to even struggling with families for acceptance and continued emotional support, that you see such boldness in the face of danger. And maybe we should all consider that the next time we’re tempted to label a certain group of Americans or followers of a religion as all the same way.