Over the weekend, tragedy struck at an Orlando nightclub when an armed killer opened fire, killing 49 people and wounding more than 50 others. The shooting at LGBQT nightclub Pulse was only the latest in a long line of terrible mass shootings in the United States, though it is the deadliest to date. Here’s what we’re reading about Orlando, gay culture, and political reactions to the events of Saturday night/Sunday morning.
‘Obama eye-rolls at Trump’s attacks‘ (Politico)
Republican nominee Donald Trump was in rare form on Twitter this weekend with shockingly tone-deaf tweets that many feel were highly unpresidential. While President Obama didn’t respond directly to Trump’s smears, the White House didn’t mince words on the subject of Obama’s response to the shooting.
Obama appears to be showing Trump his hand ahead of the bitter general election battle to succeed him. The White House batted away Trump’s toxic insinuations as petty amid the national tragedy and refused to be baited into using the term ‘radical Islamic extremism.’
‘How Should We Respond? We Have to Love Our Lives Even More‘ (The Advocate)
How does a wounded community deal with a devastating blow of homophobia in the middle of Pride month?
As a young transgender girl, she has already been teased and has already been misunderstood by her peers. Something beyond her control, her gender, and the sheer bravery she had to express it, places her at heightened risk — from others, if not also herself. She knows this, so how do you tell her not to be scared to be herself?
‘Please Don’t Stop the Music‘ (The Nation)
Many straight people are not aware of the cultural and social importance of the gay bar as an institution. It’s not just a place to drink, but to find your people.
That was my first lesson that gay bars are more than just licensed establishments where homosexuals pay to drink. Gay bars are therapy for people who can’t afford therapy; temples for people who lost their religion, or whose religion lost them; vacations for people who can’t go on vacation; homes for folk without families; sanctuaries against aggression. They take sound and fabric and flesh from the ordinary world, and under cover of darkness and the influence of alcohol or drugs, transform it all into something that scrapes up against utopia.
‘Trump’s Response to Orlando Shooting Should Be Disqualifying‘ (Rolling Stone)
Donald Trump’s tweets about the shooting shocked many Americans. Will they be enough to cost him the election?
Displaying all the self-restraint of a Reddit commentator, the impulsive GOP standard-bearer then tweeted out unverified rumors surrounding the attack on the gay nightclub, citing (unsourced) ‘reporting’ that the gunman had shouted ‘Allah hu Akbar!’ as he carried out the shooting.
We must name this crime for what it is: An act of profound homophobia that’s rooted in toxic masculinity and violence, not Islam.
The hesitancy in certain quarters, including rightwing British pundits on TV as well as American reactionaries, to label this as a homophobic hate crime, plain and simple, at first blush appears puzzling. After all, the standard script these days for political leaders immediately after a terrorist atrocity almost anywhere in the west involves describing an assault on “our values and way of life”, defined to include a degree of tolerance and an aversion to persecuting anybody on grounds of sexuality. The bullishness with which this tolerance is asserted, however, may sometimes be about compensating for the shallowness of its roots.
To donate to victims facing lengthy recovery costs, as well as families coping with unexpected expenses, you can contribute to Equality Florida’s Pulse Victims Fund.
Photo: Fibonacci Blue/Creative Commons