Mass murders have become normal and almost expected in America. For example, this past weekend 25 people were either wounded or killed by gunshot in Chicago. And June 12th over 100 people were wounded or killed by gunshot in Orlando, Florida. This specific shooting caused a massive uprising for young people on social media. People are linking this one occurrence to many different political issues, including terrorism, gun control, government corruption, and LGBT equality. For the purposes of this article, we will focus mainly on the topic of the LGBT community.
However let's discuss the background of our gunman for a moment. The gunman was unofficially identified to be Omar Mateen, a suspected ISIS sympathizer, who was on the FBI's watch list. Though this man was a suspected terrorist- he was still able to get legal access to firearms in the United States and act as a security guard. Both of these things raise questions of gun control and corruption.
Members of the LGBT community are speaking out against this hate crime, and the FBI is running an investigation on this topic. This became more evident as a hate crime when family members of Mateen said that he had anti-gay feelings before committing this heinous crime. In the 15 months from January 2013 to March 2014 over 770 hate crimes occurred in North, Central, and South America. And suicide is the second most common cause of death in people ages 10-24 in the United States- with homosexual and bisexual people being 4 times more likely to commit.
However, it was recently reported that Mateen, himself, was a member of the community. Witnesses said that he was seen at the club approximately twice a month for years. It is suspected that Mateen was gay and felt like he had to stay closeted because of the oppression of gay culture by some members of the Muslim community- however, this problem stems from more than just that community. Many different groups of people all oppress the LGBT community- and it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront.
Women oppress gay men by calling their relationships "cute" and making that sound like when they see a cute dog video on Facebook. Gay couples are not cute because they're gay- they're cute because they're a couple. Religious extremists- of any denomination- oppress the community by telling them their way of living is ungodly and wrong- and insisting that they keeping their "gay" at home and in private. The list goes on.
The point is, this shooting occurred because of homophobia and a lack of a functioning gun control system. 50 people died and another 53 were wounded in a shooting for one of two reasons: a homosexual man felt too threatened to come out, or a heterosexual man felt it was wrong; and both of which lead back to homophobia.
I am horrified either way.
It's time to change this. Speak out. Make your voice heard for the voices that have been quieted way too early. Even do the littlest amount possible by adding a "twibbon" on your Twitter or the Orlando sticker on your Facebook profile picture. Show your support- make the community able to feel safe.