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Orlando shooting proves that the fight for LGBT rights is nowhere near over

Orlando shooting proves that the fight for LGBT rights is nowhere near over

June is a significant month for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The 1969 Stonewall riots occurred toward the end of the month; it’s been deemed Pride Month in honor of the event. It’s also the month that gay marriage was legalized across the U.S. in 2015. Now, however, it will be significant for another reason.

The country’s deadliest mass shooting in history occurred on Sunday, June 12 at approximately 2 a.m. in Orlando. Gunman Omar Mateen walked into Pulse, a gay nightclub, opened fire and killed 50. Another 53 people were injured.

When gay marriage was passed by the Supreme Court on June 26 of last year, things seemed to be turning around. States with deep histories of slavery, lynching and killing people of color as well as members of the LGBT community were now marrying gay couples. Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, an institution well known for its conservative views, stated “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gay marriage. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the first prime minister in history to march in Toronto’s pride parade.

Despite these great steps towards equality across North America, the LGBT community has a long way to go. Just the other day, while in class, I overheard someone making fun of a trans peer that sat a table away.

“I don’t know what that thing is,” he sneered.

I grimaced, trying to pretend I didn’t just hear that.

It’s things like this, snide comments and dirty looks, that still prevail across this country. Sure, a man can legally marry another man anywhere in the U.S., but they’ll still be oppressed. Mateen’s father told the media that his son became angry after seeing a man kiss another man, and that’s what caused the attack.

What?

Mateen witnessed two human beings showing affection in a simple way and was so enraged by it that he just had to violently kill 50 people who were dancing, singing and enjoying life in a safe space?

According to data released by the FBI, there were 5,922 single-biased hate crimes reported in 2013, and 20.8 percent of them were based on sexual orientation. When France legalized same-sex marriage in 2013, LGBT hate crimes there increased by 30 percent. It seems like for every step the LGBT community takes forward, another two steps are taken backward.

This shooting is proof that, for every victory minorities in this country celebrate, there will always be people who tear that happiness away. If this country as a whole doesn’t stand together during tragedies like these and recognize the pain that the LGBT community has felt not only today but throughout history, nothing will change.

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ms. Taylor Crehan,
    First off, thank you for trying to form the same opinion everyone has formed today. This tragedy speaks to the stuggles still facing the LGBT community of which I am a part of. From what I’ve seen, you’ve collected some very nice facts.
    Otherwise, I’m offended because you are speaking for a community you don’t seem to identify with and can not express the stuggles of. you speak of a Trans peer but what about you? Did you say something? Do you even know their name? No? Then you’re part of the problem.
    I opened this article hoping to learn something or identify with someone but all I’ve learned is that you think the tragedy was bad. Have you ever talked to someone going through this struggle? Have you ever had to come out to you family or community? Have you ever been afraid to hold someone’s hand because of the street your on?
    Next time, lets be a little more sensitive and insightful of the community you’re trying to represent and not compare it slavery.

  2. Avatar

    Ms. Crehan did a good job of expressing her opinion on this tragic incident. One does not have to be gay, lesbian, transgender, or bisexual to have compassion and pose an opinion on this incident. If more people had an open mind like her, we would be doing better as a society.

  3. Avatar

    No, I’m sorry, but the first commenter was right. The problem is that many “allies” are OK with being bystanders. Ms. Crehaan, you see the snide remarks and intolerance that lead to things like this tragedy happening. But what did you do? Just “grimaced and pretended you didn’t just hear that” and post about it on social media later on? This article is offensive because no, we don’t need someone to stand up for a community online if they can’t do it in the real world. The students who made those comments in your class, are bigots, yes, but they are also ignorant. You, however, are not. Which makes your inaction more detrimental to the community than theirs. This is part of the problem. The LGBTQ++ community doesn’t need “allies” to sit at home and write opinion articles in a school newspaper. We need people to stop being bystanders and take some action. If more people did THAT, then we would be doing better as a society.

  4. Avatar

    Misguided piece. What Ms. Crehan fails to point out is that this shooting had little to do with civil rights and was mainly rooted in Islamic Radicalism. The shooter, who was more than likely struggling with his own sexual preference, killed in the name of jihad. After the shootings there was a moment of unity that this country has not shared since 9/11. A moment that was quickly torn away from opinions like these. There will never be harmony, if there exists such a thing, until we are quicker to point out what unites us rather than what divides us.

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