Monday, June 13, 2016

Tucson Trans Advocates on Orlando Nightclub Massacre: 'An Extreme Version of Anti-LGBT Animosity Accepted in Our Society'

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 2:10 PM

More than 24 hours after a man broke into an LGBT nightclub in downtown Orlando with an AR-15-like semiautomatic rifle, a handgun and overloads of ammunition, the identities of some of the 49 victims who died are beginning to come afloat.

What's known so far of the Pulse nightclub deadly mass shooting is that most of the victims were gay, Latino men in their 20s and 30s. There were at least five women, also mostly Latinas. Some of the names that have emerged so far: Eric Ivan Ortiz Rivera, 36; Peter O. Gonzales-Cruz, 22; Kimberly Morris, 37; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30; Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25—all at Pulse for a Saturday night of tireless dancing with friends and other close members of the LGBT community. For many, Pulse wasn't just a nightclub, it was a safe haven for those facing family rejection over their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Fifty-three others are in the hospital for gunshot wounds.

While most international and national media automatically labeled the massacre an act of extreme Islamic terrorism, (as well as Republicans who need a scapegoat for violently fueling anti-LGBT laws and environments) even President Barack Obama said that the country's homophobia and transphobia played a huge, if not a stellar, role, alongside the country's dangerous lack of gun control laws, in the killings. Tucson-based Southern Arizona Gender Alliance also blamed anti-LGBT sentiments. (As this Fuse article bravely discusses, it is simply not safe to be an LGBT person of color in the United States.)

"As we mourn, we stand with a community shaken, and we process countless emotions—sorrow, rage, fear, all of them valid, all of them too common in the lives of the LGBT community. We have witnessed an act of hate whose savagery goes beyond understanding," says a SAGA media statement. "Sadly, this is but an extreme version of the anti-LGBT animosity that is not only common, but entirely too accepted by our society, from state houses to the streets. This is the reality for queer identities, a reality that lads us to mourn today, but will also lead us to stand united, and forever fight to eradicate hate in all its forms."

Last night, hundreds of Tucsonans participated in a candlelight vigil on Fourth Avenue to honor the victims and to protest gun violence, as well as hate crimes against LGBT people.  

Here's a video released by the LA-based Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement, for your consideration:

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