Another day has broken where the piece I was going to set live feels frivolous and twee in comparison to the events that took place this weekend.
At least fifty people have lost their lives and many more are injured in a night out that ended in bullets and blood, killed or injured because of who they are. Guns turned on them for their sexuality. They dared to live lives that were true to who they were and those lives have been ended or torn apart in a few hours by a gunman filled with hate at something that didn’t affect him in any way.
Someones sexuality doesn’t affect others, it doesn’t creep into other peoples lives, it’s like saying that blonde hair or people over 5’11 are wrong, it is just who someone is. Yet this man thought he had the justification and right to end lives through his own sense of, I don’t know what sense of, barbarism, idiocy, hate, no word truly sums it up.
Yes America has a gun problem, in 2015 there were 372 mass shootings (defined as more than four victims killed or wounded) 475 people lost their lives, and more than 1800 more were hurt. But to blame guns isn’t enough, I stand by my position on gun control though. Something deeper and darker is at play, something that makes a person pull that trigger on the gun they shouldn’t have.
37 states allow same-sex marriage, 13 less than let most people buy a gun, a federal law that created a universal right to same-sex marriage is being challenged by some states and various laws have been enacted against the LGBT in many places. Bills like Proposition 8 have also lent support to the idea that gay people are a second class in terms of rights.
But it isn’t just in the US, many countries still consider homosexuality illegal, and some impose death sentences for conviction. Across the region controlled by those platinum grade arseholes ISIS gay people have been thrown from buildings in public executions. Across Europe not all our citizens enjoy equal rights, murder still happens, and only last week Ukrainian Neo-Nazis promised blood if Pride took place there, they are currently fulfilling that promise.
Here in the UK we may recall David Copeland bombing The Admiral Duncan, the murder of a gay man in Trafalgar Square whose killers got two and half years and six years for manslaughter after stamping him to death while they screamed homophobic abuse at him, or more recently when our Parliament debated same-sex marriage and politician after politician stood up and opposed it, linking it to incest and bestiality.
Everyone of my friends who isn’t heterosexual has a story of being insulted or assaulted for their sexuality, in fact quite a few who are also have stories about abuse or violence, attacked for what they wore, the sound of their voice or some thing deemed gay, only yesterday was I abused while walking to the station after an afternoon shooting images for this site with a friend.
Abuse of gay people is everywhere, it’s in every facet of our society, when we call something we don’t like gay as a prime example. There are people already trying to blame this vile slaughter on a single group of people, on a single religion. It isn’t. Homophobia exists everywhere and until we admit the scale of it and start to tackle it, how can we keep lying to the next generation. Homophobic hate crimes ROSE 22% last year in the UK, that is 5597 reported crimes, that figure doesn’t include those that aren’t reported, it’s believed only 1 in 4 offences is reported to the police. In that period when young people are discovering their sexuality they won’t see a world without prejudice, they will see fear and pain in being true to themselves during that journey.
Could you look a kid in the eye today and say “it gets better”, because in this moment I don’t know if I can.