It’s now been over four days since the Orlando gay club shooting, that left 49 members of the LGBT community dead- the worst gun-caused massacre in modern American history.
Memorials have been held across the world. From Old Compton Street in London to L.A City Hall. If anything remotely positive is to come out of this unimaginable tragedy, it’s how countries and their governments are reflecting on their own treatment of LGBT people – and asking whether we can do better.
Since the attacks, a petition has been launched for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ‘Stand up for the LGBT Community’ in the aftermath of Orlando.
LGBT advocate and Greens member for Higgins, Jason Ball posted an emotional image to Facebook today, after finding one of his election advertisements graffitied with a homophobic slur.
Ball wrote with the image:
“The last time I had this word written about me it was scrawled across a school toilet door. I was 15.
Now, in 2016 the homophobes are thankfully in the minority. But acts like this show we have a long way to go. And these acts do not happen in a vacuum.
In recent times our community has faced relentless attacks on our dignity and basic human rights. Politicians have likened us to pedophiles. Religious leaders have compared the fight for equality to the advance of Nazism. This week, media commentators who have previously vilified us, leapt on the unspeakable atrocities in Orlando and used our grief as a battering ram to prosecute their own agenda against another minority.
Then they wring their hands and offer us their “prayers and sympathy” whilst conveniently ignoring the fact that acts of hate and violence are the logical conclusion to a public ‘debate’ that maintains we are abnormal and not worthy of the same rights and respect as our fellow citizens.
We should not have to fear for our safety just for daring to live our lives openly. We must not be scared to hold our partner’s hand as we walk down the street.”
Ball is saying what a lot of people are thinking, that vocal right-wing opponents to same-sex marriage and the LGBT anti-bullying program Safe Schools (which aims to target the disproportionate levels of depression, anxiety and suicide in LGBT kids), were quick to seize and exploit the Orlando tragedy to further invoke Islamophobia within the Australian public.
If you're using the massacre of LGBTI people in what's meant to be a safe space to score political points, you're utter filth #Orlando
— Jonathan Brown (JB) (@JB_AU) June 13, 2016
Stop using the tragedy in Orlando to promote your campaign and Anti-Muslim agenda #LGBTQHatesTrumpParty
— Shangela Laquifa (@MADBLACKTWINK) June 14, 2016
While Greens MP Adam Bandt has posted a video to his Facebook page today to further the call for our government to protect LGBT communities and bring marriage equality to this country to further destigmatize the LGBT people.
It’s an emotional tribute- and a must-watch.
Watch Adam Bandt’s video ‘Let’s open up our arms and our hearts for love’ below.
Header via Irish Times.