Orlando was the worst mass shooting in American history. It was also the greatest attack on LGBT people since 1945. Though many have tried arguing that the shooting was a general terrorist attack, it’s clear that this was a targeted hate crime against the LGBT community. The killer was quoted saying that he saw ‘two men kissing a couple of months ago.’ However, let it be said that this is not the reason why it was a homophobic terrorist attack. The reason it was anti-LGBT is because it was in a gay nightclub. What more is needed to be said? Owen Jones argued, before storming off the set, that if this happened in a synagogue it would be seen as an anti-Semitic terrorist attack. An Islamic State spokesman has stated that the killer was an ‘IS soldier’. Whether he was linked to ISIS or merely a lone wolf is completely missing the point or points, in fact.
What’s frightening is that the LGBT struggle is far from over. Though many assumed we could stop campaigning for LGBT rights after the passing of the equal marriage act in the U.S., the U.K. and many other western nations, it’s quite clear that we shouldn’t. The fight isn't over until LGBT people are treated as equally as straight people in all aspects of life. The homicidal killer in Orlando obviously didn't see LGBT people as his equals. He targeted a gay club because he specifically wanted to murder gay people. Hence it being a hate crime against the LGBT community. Equality isn't something that suddenly appears when politicians pass laws. Equality happens when a community begins to accept everyone for who they are or what they are. It doesn't happen overnight and we can’t start pretending that it exists because a few pro-LGBT laws have been passed. Need I even mention the ludicrous ‘transgender bathroom debate’ in the U.S.?…
The second point to make here is the point about guns. The topic actually frustrates me because it’s not even a debate. Nobody in England truly believes that people should own personal guns. If Nigel Farage advocated the decriminalisation of gun ownership, I’d predict that his vote share would drop dramatically. If there’s one thing that all Britons agree on it’s the outlaw of guns. But in America, the debate rages on. We can try and encourage them to introduce tougher gun controls and explain that they don't need personal handguns, let alone submachine guns. However, I fear they won’t listen and will continue to use the pathetic excuse of ‘the constitution’. It’s a non-debate and it’s been covered so much that I’m bored of trying to chip in.
The third point is the killer’s religion. Donald Trump has called for all foreign-born Muslims to be banned from entering the United States after Orlando. He suggests that something radical must be done to stop acts like this from happening. Personally I think he’s painting over gun ownership but many believe he has a point; and he does. There is an issue with radical Islamists entering the States to target Americans. Don’t let the neoliberal media try and suggest that Trump is being racist for suggesting such a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don't agree with banning foreign-born Muslims from entering the country but I agree that something has to be done to tackle the problem of radical Islam. Ultimately, that’s the root cause Trump’s anti-Muslim dogma and trying to tackle the issue at the head is only a short term plan. The middle-east needs to be tackled diplomatically and politically. Naturally, war and the current foreign policy of the west is only breeding further Islamic extremism and targets in the west. Moreover, if Trump truly believed in the constitution, any such ban on someone because of their religion would wholly go against it. It’s pretty hypocritical of the man in this regard.
The attack in Orlando was horrific and the lost lives of the LGBT people will be remembered by everyone. Their lives will be seen as sacrifices for the LGBT movement as it shines the spotlight on the struggles of the LGBT community and the inequality that still shows its ugly head today. It’s disgusting that lives had to be lost for us to truly understand that there are people who will happily kill others for being of a different sexuality.