Monday, June 20, 2016

Is There More To Come?

Anti-LGBT violence protest
Hello Everyone:

Now that the dust is beginning to settle in the heinous Orlando shooting, it is time for the analysis.  Without a doubt, this was the worst mass shooting in American history but as Emma Green reports in her CityLab article, "Violence Against LGBT People in America Is Astoundingly Common," reminds us that nothing happens in a vacuum.  As appallingly shocking as the senseless deaths of 49 people and the injuries suffered by 53 people, this was not an isolated crime.  Strangely enough, violence against the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender community is more common than we think.

There still seems to some mystery as to why Omar Mateen (the one time Blogger will mention this criminal's name) picked the Pulse nightclub or what motivated him to pull the trigger.  What is clear is that he specifically targeted a gay club, during Pride month, coinciding with the weekend when cities from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles were hosting celebrations and parade.  Ms. Green reports that according to Saddique Mateen, the shooter's father, believes "...his son may have been motivated by anger toward LGBT community; other reports suggest he may have pledged allegiance to ISIS in advance of the attacks."  On a personal note, Blogger spoke, via Facebook, with a friend in Alexandria, Virginia who was feeling to melancholic to attend the parade in Washington D.C.  This is an unheard of shooting in terms of the scale and carnage, but not in type.  It is, according to Ms. Green, " extraordinary example of an extremely common kind of violence in the United States: hate-motivated attacks on LGBT people."

A comparison of hate crimes across protected and unprotected groups
  In 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a study, Anti-Gay Hate Crimes: Doing The Math, of FBI hate crime statistics.  (  The author of the study, senior fellow Mark Potok concluded,

The bottom line: LGBT people are far more likely than any other minority group in the United States to be victimized by violent hate crime.  (Ibid)

Why are LGBT people twice as likely to to be the targets for hate crimes, in comparison to Jews, African-Americans, Muslims, Latinos, and Caucasians?  Ms. Green writes, "...the population of LGBT Americans is relatively small, and the number of hate crimes against that group is significant, LGBT individuals face a higher risk than other groups of being victims of an attack."  Mr. Potok continued,

They are more than four times as likely as Muslims, and almost 14 times as likely Latinos (Ibid)

According to 2013 FBI crime statistics, sexual orientation violence accounted for about 20 percent of hate crimes, the only other factor that accounted for more was race.  (

"Hate Crimes Motivated by Sexual Orientation Bias"
To be clear, "The vast majority of those cries are not carried out by Muslims extremists," writes Ms. Green.  Mark Potok added,

It's a mix of white supremacists and their ilk and people who would be considered relatively normal members of society...The majority of attack on gay people do not come from people who are members of organized hate groups.

The Pulse was not the first gay nightclub that was targeted violence.  In 2014, Musab Masmari was convicted and sentence to 10 years for setting fire to the Capitol Hill club in Seattle, Washington.  (  There were 750 people in the club and, thankfully, no one was injured or killed.  As horrifying as these incidents are, they do not account for the majority of violent acts committed against LGBT people, which more often occur in homes, on the road ways, streets, and in educational institutions.

LGBT violence

Emma Green writes, "Discriminatory attitudes toward LGBT people are still common, despite advances in LGBT rights over the past several years."  Mark Potok picked up the conversation thread,

LGBT people have been vilified for as long as any of us can remember and vilified in a particularly nasty way...They're described as perverts, as people who seduce children, as people who engage in horrible unnatural practices.  There's all kinds of hatred in this country, but it's rare to have a group described in such incredibly demeaning terms.

According to a 2014 study, A Shifting Landscape: A Decade of Change in American Attitudes about Same-sex Marriage and LGBT Issues, published by the Public Religion Research Institute (, "...a majority of Americans said they believed gay sex is morally unacceptable, and 14 percent of Americans said they believed AIDS might be God's punishment for immoral sexual behavior..."  There does not appear to be any casual relationship between disproval of homosexuality and mass murder.  Be that as it may, negative LGBT feeling and rhetoric, not uncommon, are part of the greater American social context, " which more than half of LGBT-idnetified people say they're concerned about being a victim of a hate crime."

No H8

The Pride movement was born out of sexual orientation-associated violence and rhetoric. Ms. Green writes, The first parades were held 46 years ago in commemoration of the 1969 Stonewall riots, in which LGBT people protested a police raid of a Greenwich Village bar, the Stonewall Inn."  The premier Pride parade was held in New York.  Fred Sargent recalled in a 2010 article for Village Voice, "1970: A First-Person Account of the First Gay Pride March,"

...There were no floats no music, no boys in briefs.  The cops turned their backs on us to convey their disdain, but the masses of people kept carrying signs and banners, chanting and waving to surprised onlookers.  (

Over the succeeding decades, Pride events have spread across the nation.  Emma Green writes, "Cities celebrate their LGBT citizens with parades and festivals, and gay bars and clubs often hold events like the one at Pulse..."  These event are typically happy and celebratory occasions-safe places for people to openly express their identity and sexuality-spaces that have come along way from their somber protest foundation.

However, this year seems to be a regression to a time when LGBT people were unacceptable members of society.  Already, we have seen a succession of laws passed, including the unenforceable HB2 in North Carolina, that once again aims to marginalize people based on their sexual orientation.  On the same day as the Orlando shooting, a man in Santa Monica, California was arrested by authorities for carrying explosives and ammunition in his car with the intention of doing violence at the Pride Parade in West Hollywood.  The dead were mourned with silent protests staged by the Human Rights Campaign.  There is a feeling of impending doom, the Orlando shooting may have been a sign of things to come.  Ms. Roberts reports, " the 10-year period between 2004 and 2014, the share of hate crimes based on sexual orientation increased."  The optimist hopes that this trend will not continue.  The realist, Mark Potok,  says

I very much dread what is coming next

No comments:

Post a Comment