Monday, June 13, 2016

Backlash of Gay Rights During Gay Pride Month



President Obama proclaimed on May 31st that June is LGBT month.  Said he, “ I call upon the people of the United States to eliminate prejudice everywhere it exists and to celebrate the great diversity of the American people. “

Despite his announcement, on the cusp of Gay Pride Month, Omar Marteen, who lives in St. Lucie County,  Florida and has sworn his allegiance to the Islamic State, decided that LGBT persons are better off dead than living their lives as homosexuals. Isis doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state.  Consequently, he killed more than fifty LGBT persons in a gay nightclub called Pulse in Orlando.

It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and what Obama called an “act of terror against people who are LGBTQ. It was an attack on the fundamental belief in equality and dignity for all people.”

Although Gay Pride celebrates the advancement of civil rights for gays, from a time when it was illegal for LGBT people to congregate at a bar or for bars to  even serve LGBT people. (hence the Stonewall Inn rebellion in June 1969).  It also celebrates sexual and gender identities in public.

But recent happenings also remind us that we have a long way to go.  Unrelated to the Pulse shooting, James Wesley Howell, 20, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, was headed to the West Hollywood, California gay pride parade.  However, he wasn’t planning on marching or being in solidary with the LGBT population.

He, like Marteen, came equipped to harm.  Howell was found with three assault rifles and chemicals used to make explosives in his car and was stopped by police.
Unrelated to the nightclub massacre in Florida, Howell’s plan gives one pause.  How many others are out there with similar hatred? How can we assure safety for LGBT citizens?

While great strides in LGBT rights such as legalized gay marriage, gay adoption, why this backlash? What do you think? As a mother of a gay son, I worry for his safety as well as others.

Frank Langella, in his Tony Acceptance Speech on June 12th, said “when something bad happens, we have three choices: we let it define us, we let it destroy us, or we let it strengthen us. “ United in spirit and offering food, shelter, and blood to those who were maimed, let us continue to support those in need of equality.