After finally having the chance to hear about and read up on Orlando, there are some things I need to express, though I’m not sure I’ll be the most composed or well-written about it.
First, all of my love goes out to the LGBT+ community of Orlando and their families as they wait for more news of the victims going forward. I cannot fathom the personal tragedies they must be going through.
What’s important to understand at this time, though, is that it’s not about how we feel about this, so much as what are we going to do about it. This is not an issue that can be de-politicized. This was the deadliest mass shooting in US history, and one that could have been prevented. Sensible gun control is not about “the government taking away all our guns” — it’s about maybe (just maybe) not allowing untrained civilians easy access to military-grade weaponry:
“The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, has about 35–50 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns, according to a 2007 report by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey.” (Source)
Following the Newtown, Connecticut massacre of 2012, the Senate somehow managed to defeat legislation that would have banned semiautomatic assault weapons and expanded background checks, despite said legislation having the support of 90% of Americans (source). We can’t continue to ignore the fact that our legislators’ inaction concerning gun control has resulted in more deaths.
We need to talk about continued violence against LGBT+ communities in the United States and throughout the world. We continually demonize gender and sexual minorities, determining everything from whether they can marry to whether they can donate blood to whether they can use a fucking public restroom. But maybe instead of demonizing LGBT+ individuals, maybe instead of making spectacles out of people simply trying to live and enjoy their lives peacefully — maybe we could treat them with some goddamn respect, and get our noses out of their safe spaces. Because the fact is, attacks like this prevent the possibility of safe spaces. Attacks like this are harsh reminders of the fact that while it’s nice that we can put a rainbow filter over our Facebook profile pictures, it’s still literally life-threatening to be an openly queer and/or non-gender-conforming individual in the United States. Stop pretending that it’s all fixed because we can get married now. We still have a long way to go.
One thing we can’t forget, though, is that we cannot allow such attacks like this to fuel the already rampant Islamophobia in this country. This is not the Muslim community’s fault. At this point, very little is known about the attacker. There are articles circulating that are claiming he swore his allegiance to ISIS, at the same time that we see pictures of him in NYPD shirts making their way around:
Please do not let the fear we feel from this attack fuel hate towards Muslim individuals (or Muslim-perceived individuals) or communities, no matter what we learn about this vile coward.
Learn what you can do to help:
- Find your Congressional representative and demand that action should be taken regarding gun violence: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
- Find your Senators and demand that action should be taken regarding gun violence: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state
Don’t let hate or indifference be our reaction to tragedy. Enact change where you can. Choose love.