Like many of you in the LGBT community, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from allies here and around the world after last month’s mass shooting in Orlando. But I also have many questions and am perplexed by what I’m seeing and hearing as some people attempt to explain or use this incident for their own purposes — or even to bash other communities in our name. Those mixed feeling are slowly building up to anger.


On June 12, the day of the attack, my email was full of statements from religious organizations — even including the Vatican — as well as political figures and others condemning the violence against members of the LGBT community in Orlando. But one stuck out as insulting and hurtful; it should be no surprise it was from Donald Trump.

mark-segal
He used the most tragic of times to attack rather than calm an alarmed nation. In total, his statement was seven paragraphs. It seems few have noted what was missing from that statement.


His words in part read, “President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam.’ For that reason alone, he should step down. If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam,’ she should get out of this race for the presidency.”


While Trump used those paragraphs to bash Obama and Clinton, he didn’t know how to say a few other words: “gay,” “lesbian” or “LGBT.” Nowhere in his statement did he mention the community that was most affected by the largest mass murder in American history. Mr. Trump, if you cannot say some comforting words to the LGBT citizens of this country at this time, then you are not fit to be president.


Also of importance, most of the victims were Latinos. And of those Latino LGBT people who were the victims, how many of them would Trump deport? And would he deport their parents if they didn’t have a green card? Lose a child or get deported?


Then there’s the issue of who and what Omar Mateen was. Was he a Muslim terrorist? Was he gay? Did he want to kill gays or was it Latinos?


All those answers may eventually be known but here is what we know now: Whatever Mateen was, he committed a heinous crime and his religion is of no importance.


We in the LGBT community cannot and will not allow anyone to use our community’s tragedy to bash an entire other community. We know discrimination because we suffer it every day. We also understand unfair immigration laws. Until recently, if LGBT people married someone from another country, that person might be refused entrance or citizenship in the United States. Our community will also recall clearly when people with HIV were forbidden to enter the United States. So please do not use the still-warm dead bodies in Orlando to suggest that we bar all Muslims from the United States.


While Trump was raging about blocking Muslims from doing this again, did he even understand that the man who did this was an American citizen? His unilateral banning of Muslims would not have stopped a similar event; it might very well have created one. Barring Muslims would not have stopped this nor San Bernardino, nor Fort Hood, nor Columbine …


In 1973, the Upstairs Lounge, a gay bar in New Orleans, was firebombed, killing 34 individuals. That attack came from a Christian. Should our community hate Christians? The answer is no.


We and all communities should begin to look at all extremists — whether they are on the left or the right. When extremism and instability mix, an Orlando, a San Bernardino, a Fort Hood, a Columbine happen.


Extremism is what is the real danger to this country, and unfortunately, extremists are home-grown. And Trump seems to have a very cozy relationship with them — especially the racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic Nazi skin-heads, whose hate messages he consistently retweets. Enough said.

  

Mark Segal, Philadelphia Gay News publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at PhilaGayNews. His memoir AND THEN I DANCED is available online and at your favorite bookstore.

 

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