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Letter From the Editor: On Orlando and Its Aftermath


You cannot decry the “lifestyle” of queer people and then wring your hands when someone takes you seriously and tries to end our lives.

Everything about the morning of Sunday, June 12, was a knife in the heart. It's a terrible curse to know the horrifying events you're witnessing on TV will be indelibly and crudely carved into your soul.

The attack on Pulse nightclub in Orlando, in which 49 people were viciously murdered and an additional 53 injured -- most of whom were LGBT people of color -- was about one thing: the hatred of queers.

ISIS is a goddamned red herring. Yes, ISIS hates us too, but this killer -- I won't use his name -- was an American. He was born in Queens, New York, and lived in Florida. To say that this hatred was somehow only an import to our shores is an abject denial of our lives, our queer selves. His hatred was homegrown.

As the days pass and the investigations continue, we have learned that the killer was a frequenter of Pulse, that he was on gay dating apps. We'll no doubt learn a lot more about him and all that happened in the months and hours before he committed the deadliest mass public shooting assault in American history. Was he gay and closeted? Perhaps, but it doesn't matter. He lived in a world in which homophobia was fueled, perhaps by Islamic extremism, but undoubtedly by the nation in which he was raised.

Such poisonous hatred is cultivated, right here in the United States, by the fundamentalist zealots, frothing from the pulpit, saying gays should be put to death. It's a hatred nurtured by the right-wing legislatures that have made a criminal act out of going to the bathroom. It's a hatred promoted by each and every governor who signed a law giving some 22-plus states carte blanche to deny us employment, housing, and medical care because of their feelings about God. And it's a hatred nourished by a Republican party that makes allies of these troglodytes and their systematic, organized, and unyielding attempts to degrade and diminish LGBT people.

Guess what happens when you relentlessly argue for us to be unequal under the law, or call us perverse abominations? Someone's going to act on that fiendish rhetoric. And on June 12, a delusional killer did that -- and he had unfettered access to assault weapons.

You cannot foster attitudes and laws that dehumanize us and then stand back and feign shock and disgust when someone takes your ideas into his black, tarred heart and slaughters us in those places where we gather for community. You cannot decry the "lifestyle" of queer people and then wring your hands when someone takes you seriously and tries to end our lives.

We will not allow the pretense that this was solely a terror attack and not a targeted anti-LGBT attack, for which the religious and political fanatics within our own borders are complicit. We're not interested in your prayers, unless they're followed up with action. And we do not accept that living in this country means lining up for a massive game of Russian roulette. It was not "Orlando's turn" to be massacred (how utterly sick, Sen. Marco Rubio).
And there is no justification on Earth for giving madmen access to mass murder machines.

So listen up, you Mitch McConnells, Ted Cruzes, Pat McCrorys, Wayne LaPierres, Family Research Councils, and "Pastor" Kevin Swansons, and all you bigots who methodically work to keep us down and keep the madmen armed: You've fucked with the wrong group of people.

In case you haven't been paying attention for the past 50 years, this community is strong, resilient, very effective, and mightily pissed off. We will not permit your insane brand of fundamentalism. And we're coming for your assault rifles too. matthew-breen

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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Matthew Breen