“Get out of pulse and keep running.” – the words shared via the Pulse nightclub Facebook page as an attacker began the biggest mass shooting in U.S. History.
The attack on the prominent Orlando gay bar resulted in ﬁfty deaths and multiple injuries. It has been reported that the attacker may have links to “Islamic” extremism, this is however not yet conﬁrmed.
So far, some of the aftermath of this tragedy has been dominated by a far-right, islamophobic narrative . We cannot allow this tragedy to be undermined by ideologies of hate, we must let it act as a reminder of the everyday discrimination and hate faced by the LGBT+ community across the globe. U.S. Presidential hopeful, Donald Trump tweeted: “appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islam terrorism. I don’t want congrats. I want toughness and vigilance. We must be smart!” These absurd comments only fuel the kind of hatred and intolerance we’ve seen in Orlando. We should challenge these views and remain compassionate and respectful towards the victims, survivors and wider LGBT+ community. This attack highlights the wider problem that is the consistent discrimination against the LGBT+ community across the globe. It also exhibits America’s failure to address issues surrounding gun control and social inequality. The gay blood that spills over Orlando’s streets is deemed unworthy of saving someone’s life. The message is clear: right-wing America would rather see two men holding guns than holding hands.
The media need to stop worrying about the religion and ethnic origin of the attacker and instead begin addressing the issues that have resulted in this tragic attack. We should all focus on paying our respects to the victims and supporting the community instead of branding “terrorism” at every opportunity.
If we are to aim to prevent further atrocities being committed, we must recognise that we are currently trapped in a system where we are not treated equally, where western leaders are allowed to freely ﬂex their military muscles and have us believe that the immigrants are to blame. Western Imperialism has left us with a society in which white supremacy, religious orthodoxy and inequality are rife.
We must all challenge the system, as one.
Orlando cannot be used to score political points. Equally, we cannot let it pass us by and must recognise its signiﬁcance in acting as a reminder of the discrimination and hatred that is still faced by the LGBT+ community throughout the world today.The growing support and solidarity we have seen from cities across the globe illustrates how we can stand together and stand up in the face of injustice.
This is not a tragedy for the LGBT+ community to mourn on their own. We need everyone to get behind our community and support us when we call for an end to the discriminatory blood ban, when we call for inclusive education, and when we call for true equality. Let us remember the victims of Orlando forever, those who went out to dance and instead were stripped of their humanity. Let us challenge this corrupt system and educate those who are misinformed. Let us stand together in solidarity: as Martin Luther King said, ” Nobody is free until we are all free.”
– Luca Manning