Two words: Omar Ma­teen

GA Voice - - Creep Of The Week -

By D’ANNE WITKOWSKI

Amer­ica is the only coun­try where mass shoot­ings hap­pen on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. I don’t want to hear an­other politi­cian of­fer prayers for Or­lando un­less that prayer is, “Dear God, please guide my hand as I sign this gun con­trol leg­is­la­tion.”

Hear­ing “prayers” from peo­ple like Jeb Bush, Marco Ru­bio, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott made me sick to my stom­ach. These are peo­ple who de­mo­nized LGBT peo­ple and fam­i­lies for political gain. Their prayers don’t mean shit, thanks.

Ah, but there will be plenty of time to call them out. Right now the main vil­lain in this plot is Omar Ma­teen, the man who mowed down nearly 100 peo­ple, killing 49 of them at Pulse, a gay club in Or­lando. We know that he was racist and ho­mo­pho­bic. We know that he beat up his first wife. We know that he worked as a se­cu­rity guard. We know he was on the FBI’s radar. We know that he bought his mur­der weapons easy peasy. Was he a ter­ror­ist? Well, un­doubt­edly, yes.

But was he specif­i­cally a “rad­i­cal Is­lamic ter- ror­ist” (as if that some­how ex­plains or makes more com­pre­hen­si­ble the car­nage he wrought)?

Was he gay? There are plenty of re­ports he was a reg­u­lar at Pulse. That he’d some­times get so drunk he had to be thrown out. That he mes­saged men on Grindr.

And peo­ple will say, “Well, it doesn’t mat­ter if he was gay or not” just as they’ll say, “It doesn’t mat­ter that the club was gay or not.” And these peo­ple will by and large not be gay. Be­cause of course it mat­ters.

And it’s a stark re­minder that de­spite all of the gains that LGBT peo­ple have made, there is so much work left to do. Just be­cause we can legally get mar­ried now doesn’t mean that our lives are as safe or as val­ued as our het­ero friends and neigh­bors.

Go out and hug each other. Be fierce, be proud, be woke.

Omar Ma­teen

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.