Omar Mateen said he “did the shootings” in Orlando during a 911 phone call just after the initial gunfire took place.
Mateen identified himself as an Islamic soldier and demanded the U.S. “stop bombing Syria and Iraq” according to partial transcripts of three calls Mateen placed to the emergency hotline.
While experts and pundits parse the transcripts and argue over the need to release them in their entirety to determine whether or not Mateen was radicalized on his own or directed by Islamic State or other group, there is strong evidence that homosexuals were Mateen’s target.
For America’s LGBT community, it’s not the first, nor will it be the last time.
ISIL or Not, Orlando Shooting Was a Hate Crime Against LGBT people
Steph Solis – USA Today
Hours after Omar Mateen opened fire June 12 on a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, the Westboro Baptist Church, a well-known anti-LGBT group, tweeted “GOD SENT THE SHOOTER to #Pulse in Orlando! The murderer is in hell! (Galatians 5:19-21) Repent all!”…
Hate, it seems, isn’t always carried here from foreign shores. In fact, homegrown hate can be just as deadly as any rooted in the Islamic State’s ideology.
What is equally dangerous, however, is the number of people choosing to ignore that the attack was one rooted in homophobia. Those who insist the shooting was solely an Islamic terror attack try to erase the LGBT community from the narrative, causing only more pain by invalidating their experiences in this ordeal.
In Trump, Pro-Gay Rights Republicans See a New Hope
Kyle Cheney – Politico
Trump buoyed Republican LGBT activists with his defense of the gay community in the wake of Sunday’s mass murder at a gay nightclub. “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community. Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words?” he said Monday…Trump followed it up with a tweet Tuesday in which he thanked LGBT Americans and said: “I will fight for you.”…
Throughout the campaign, Trump has alternately heratened and dismayed LGBT advocates. As recently as last week at a social conservative political gathering in Washington, Trump suggested he’d appoint judges that would support the traditional definition of marriage. And last year, he slammed the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalize same sex marriage last year. But he also was critical of North Carolina Republicans for adopting a bill aimed at restricting bathroom use by transgender residents, distancing himself from the conservative position on the issue.
The G.O.P’s Cynical Gay Ploy
Charles M. Blow – The New York Times
One of the most brazen — craven even — ploys by Republicans in the wake of the Orlando massacre has been to suggest, incredibly, that they would be better for the L.G.B.T. community than the Democrats….
Then it occurred to me that these weren’t appeals to the L.G.B.T. community at all. This wasn’t a way of peeling off the rainbow contingent from liberals’ rainbow coalition, but instead a way of making Republicans and amenable independents feel good about supporting the party’s schismatic policies. This was a way to salvage nobility for the homophobic, to say that there are factional benefits for tribalism, that liberalism itself is flawed because you can’t house the wolves with the rabbits.
But this too shall fail.
Why Conservatives Won’t Identify the Orlando Shooting Victims as LGBT
Zack Ford – Think Progress
Since news first broke Sunday morning of the mass shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando…there has been a concerted effort from conservative politicians, religious groups, celebrities, and even the media to erase LGBT people from the story….
[I]dentifying Pulse as a gay bar is fundamental to understanding both the shooting and its aftermath. Ignoring that fact ignores why the 49 dead and 53 wounded were in a place that was so vulnerable to attack. It ignores the significance of that space, and the impact that the Pulse shooting has on every other LGBT person who finds safety, comfort, and community in such spaces. In fact, it reinforces the cultural invisibility that makes gay bars such crucial social sanctuaries. And most importantly, it ignores the reality that LGBT people are still a persecuted group in society.
Will Orlando Shooting Help Latinos Embrace LGBT Brothers and Sisters?
Raul A. Reyes – CNN
Many Americans are aware of the challenges involved in growing up LGBT. Now amplify those challenges for anyone growing up in a culture rooted in machismo, religion and rigid gender norms. As adults, LGBT Latinos can feel isolated from their families, yet simultaneously isolated from the larger LGBT community as well. That is why events such as “Latin Night” at the Pulse nightclub exist, so LGBT Latinos can come together and be themselves in a safe space.
Or at least they could until last weekend. As Miriam Zoila Perez wrote in an essay for the multicultural website Colorlines, “Being queer and Latinx in the U.S. sometimes feels like it can be impossible to find our people. And now tragedy has found us.”
Sadly, it is easy to imagine that some of those who were killed Sunday were not even “out” to their families. That they may have died without their loved ones ever really knowing who they were seems a tragedy twice over.
The Courage of Being Queer
Alexander Chee – The New Republic
The first story I ever heard in the news about a gay man was about the murder, in 1984, of Charlie Howard, who was thrown by his attackers from a bridge to his death. A certain violence has always followed me since coming out, whether I was in a bar where someone threw an M-80 at the door, or attacked in the street—it follows us all. The Pulse murders were the starkest reminder yet that we could be killed for being gay. But this knowledge is something I’ve learned to live with, as I’m sure everyone in that club also had….
We have always known that the protection we feel in a queer club is illusory. We’re in the club, but we’re still in America. Some of those shot at Pulse last weekend, on a night popular with working class latinx, could effectively be outed at work by being there, and lose their jobs if their employer decides they don’t want a LGBT person working for them. One survivor is undocumented and closeted, and perhaps unable to connect to the family of his lover. The lack of protections for us is structural, designed to leave us weaker, vulnerable to harm. Everything that happened last Saturday happened because the laws of the land point to it and let it happen.