I woke up this morning and checked the Twitterverse, and found something very striking. Of those posting about the attack in Orlando, my LGBT friends were all posting about how to support the LGBT community, but my straight friends were all posting about gun control.
I’m going to break a moment, and point out that I am very strongly pro-gun, and that may color how I viewed this. However, I have not chosen the guns’ rights issue as one of my fighting issues, and so I largely stay out of that battle. I understand why people have trouble with it, but my reasons are my own and they are private. I say this now so that you know my bias going in.
In any case, I thought this was an odd delineation of the groups, and while I thought both were valid responses, it still made me wonder why the delineation was so strong. A mention of this on the Twittersphere indicated that others saw the same delineation, but there were those who did not see this strong separation. Others also pointed out that they’re seeing strong anti-Islam sentiment in this as well, something I’m fortunately devoid of in my feed. So, this is all very unscientific and perhaps unrepresentative, but it did make me think today about the ramifications of this, and implications.
And then I realized what it was that made me feel so squishy.
Those that are posting about the community are because the LGBT community sees violence on their friends, their lovers, and often themselves frequently. It may be gunfire, but more often it is fists. There is a constant threat to people who are openly gay, trans, or queer, because there is so much hatred out there. Those who are in the community are asking for support because they feel very vulnerable this week.
Meanwhile, those that are posting about how guns are the cause are usually doing so without admitting that this is a hate crime. It’s almost a political statement, let’s remove guns from our world! That message supersedes the violence that is perpetrated on victims of hate every day. I know that’s not the intention, but when it’s the only message I see from straight folks, it starts to feel like someone has appropriated this heinous act for their political agenda.
Mind you, I don’t want to say, “Don’t hate guns,” because I do understand why you do (even if I don’t agree). But please, don’t let that guns were involved be the only thing you discuss in this. This is a hate crime, and if we don’t address the hate involved, we won’t address the many who are victims in similar (but less news-worthingly large) attacks every day. I do understand that guns exacerbate the hate, and escalates its outcome, but remember that the hate is the real cause here.
And then those that hate on Islam for this? You know what, I’m not even going to discuss that. It’s answering hate with hate, and that’s not going to solve any problems, K?
The LGBT community really does need our love and support this week. Remember that they are hurting because friends and loved ones were victims of this event. And friends and loved ones have been and will be victims of other hate-related violence.