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Why we shouldn’t ignore the LGBTQI identity of the Orlando shooting victims

Orlando shooting

50 people were left dead, and more than 50 were injured during the deadliest mass shooting to take place in America’s history, at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub on Sunday night.

The crime occurred at the hands of Omar Mateen, during Latin Night, where many men of colour, aged between 18 and 50, were out celebrating their sexuality for Pride Month.

Orlando Shooting

50 people were left dead, and more than 50 were injured during the deadliest mass shooting to take place in America’s history, at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub on Sunday night.

Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, ignored the sexual identity of Mateen’s victims in his initial statement of condolence, calling the shooting an assault on freedom and an act of hate, failing to acknowledge the community at its core. Later he issued a follow-up statement explaining that it was “an attack on the gay community and an attack on all of us”.

Daily Life have reported on why it’s important not to ignore the LGBTQI identity of the victims, and why failing to acknowledge their sexual identity can have detrimental effects;

“Our bodies are contested territories, colonised and politicised by a cacophony of competing agendas. To be queer is to be a battleground for others, to exist is a constant rebuke of the status quo. Stepping into the street is, daily, an act of courage and resistance. To hold hands or show affection to someone of the same sex can cost you your life.Violence, aggression, vilification and abuse are facts of life, and our sacred spaces are few.

We have been cast out of churches, schools, families, and congregating in gay bars and pride parades is a celebration of survival against the odds. When our safe spaces, those strobe and sweat-drenched refuges where we can momentarily feel free, are violated, each of us we feel it as though we were there. Every strafe of the mirror ball captures a lifetime of loss and fear, each shard an instant of pain refracted into brilliant bursts of light…”

Author Amy Coopes further commented that by erasing and minimising the human beings who devastatingly fell victim to Mateen as no more than an afterthought, Turnbull has accepted their status as less.

“It is a necessary elision for a politician offering carte blanche to hate mongers and bigots, offering up sex and gender diverse Australians to the mercy of a loud and vitriolic few. Rhetoric that emboldens those who would take umbrage, or worse, arms, against a nightclub full of people for simply daring to exist.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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June 13, 2016

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