​How The Orlando Pulse Shooting Affected A Queer Muslim Far Away
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Politics and Activism

​How The Orlando Pulse Shooting Affected A Queer Muslim Far Away

One year ago, on June 12, 2016, a man named Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at Pulse, during Latin Night at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. I decided to come out because of it.

​How The Orlando Pulse Shooting Affected A Queer Muslim Far Away
Jenny Hollander

On June 12, 2016, a man named Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others during Latin Night at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This was an attack against the LGBT community and against the Latino community.

The event occurred in the early hours of June 12, with the stand-off ending around 6 a.m. Details came pouring in bit by bit and it soon transpired that Mateen claimed his actions were for ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). As a Muslim, let me say that neither I nor anyone who is a true believer in Islam condones his actions or any other act of terrorism. Terrorism is not a part of Islam as much as all these so-called “Islamic” terrorist groups will have you believe. Naturally, following the event, there was a renewed sense of Islamophobia across the country.

More and more details from the event came out and it soon became apparent that Omar Mateen was most likely gay as several men stepped forward and offered their own accounts of their experiences with Mateen.

This event completely broke my heart. Because at the same time sympathy for the LGBT community was given, so was fear and hatred towards Muslims and Islam. Because there was a clear divide in the LGBT community and in the Islamic community. And it didn’t make sense to me.

Because I was both.

At the time, I didn’t know any other Muslims that were queer. Of course I knew they existed, but they are far and few in between in a world that is already shadowed by Islamophobia. Not only that, but homophobia tends to run high in some of the Islamic communities that I have seen. But they do exist. I mean, I exist. And so do others.

No one will ever truly know the motives behind what Omar Mateen did. The FBI’s investigation does not provide us with a lot of answers, but it is apparent that Omar had behavioral problems and anger issues. Clearly, Omar had some issues with homosexuality and internalized homophobia. And that’s what truly bothers me.

I don’t want to see queer Muslims hurt themselves or hurt others because they feel like they have to choose between their faith or their sexuality. I want people to know that it’s OK to be a Muslim. I want people to know that it’s OK to be queer. And most importantly, I want people to know that it’s OK to be a queer Muslim. And so I made the decision to come out in the hopes that my fellow peers, whether queer Muslims or not, see this and know that we’re queer, we’re here, and we come in peace.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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