Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Long History…

…of violence against LGBT establishments. Sadly if you look at history the Orlando massacre is just the last of a long history of violence against us.
The Long, Tragic History of Violence at LGBTQ Bars and Clubs in America
By Mark Joseph Stern
June 12, 2016

The mass shooting at Orlando’s LGBT nightclub Pulse, which left at least 50 dead, is only the latest chapter in a long history of violence at LGBTQ bars and clubs in America. In fact, for as long as LGBTQ people have been congregating in their own social spaces, these spaces have been the target of vicious homophobic and transphobic violence.

Until the Pulse massacre, the most notorious act of violence against a gay bar was the burning of the UpStairs Lounge, a New Orleans gay bar, in 1973. An arsonist set fire to the bar, killing 32 people in less than 20 minutes. The vast majority of politicians declined to comment on the arson, and the Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans did not offer support to the victims. (The Archdiocese apologized for its silence in 2013.) Many news outlets ignored the story; some of those that did cover it mocked the victims for being gay. No one has ever been prosecuted for the crime. When asked about identifying the victims, the chief detective of the New Orleans Police Department responded, “We don’t even know these papers belonged to the people we found them on. Some thieves hung out there, and you know this was a queer bar.”

In 1997, “Olympic Park Bomber” Eric Robert Rudolph bombed the Otherside Lounge, a lesbian nightclub in Atlanta, later explaining that he believed “the concerted effort to legitimize the practice of homosexuality” was an “assault upon the integrity of American society.” He described homosexuality as “an aberrant sexual behavior,” and wrote that “when the attempt is made” to “recognize this behavior as being just as legitimate and normal as the natural man/woman relationship, every effort should be made, including force if necessary, to halt this effort.” In his confession, Rudolph railed against the “homosexual agenda,” including “gay marriage, homosexual adoption, hate-crime laws including gays, or the attempt to introduce a homosexual normalizing curriculum into our schools.”
The article goes on to write about, in 2000 “Ronald Gay opened fire on Backstreet Cafe, a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia,” and “in 2013, Musab Mohammed Masmari set fire to Neighbours, a gay nightclub” in Seattle.
Op-Ed: 'We Must Never Allow Haters to Have Our Silence'
By Mark Segal
June 12, 2016
If you'd ask almost any LGBT senior if they are surprised by the violent act of terror on our community last night in Orlando, they'd most likely say no.

You see, while the young in our community have seen progress with non-discrimination bills passing city-by-city, state-by-state; seeing the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and marriage equality sweeping the nation, we seniors saw an earlier version of that struggle for equality, and it wasn't so pretty.

The President stated today of the violence in Orlando that "this was an act of terror and hate." Most in our community think our struggle began at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969, which was also a night of terror and hate from the New York Police Department.

What most don't know or appreciate is Stonewall represented the last straw, not the first.

Society had a systemic rule of violence against us as a people. Up until the late 1960's. If you met in public, you were arrested, usually for disturbing the peace or soliciting. At that time there were only three places for people to meet. Private parties, cruising spots (where you might be arrested) and Bars which usually had to pay off the police since it was literally illegal to serve known homosexuals. Then there were the very few gay & lesbian organizations, mostly in large cities who provided safety and help.
We must never allow haters to have our silence. We will be out and proud.

We must march for those who can't. Tomorrow, when the full list of those killed from this tragic act of hate are revealed, take a few minutes to look over those names, find one that speaks to you. Write it on a piece of paper, put it in your pocket and take it to your local LGBT pride celebration.
One of the things that we hear all the time is that many of these attackers repressed the gays feelings,
Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was gay, former classmate says
Palm Beach Post
By Lawrence Mower
June 14, 2016

A former classmate of Omar Mateen’s 2006 police academy class said he believed Mateen was gay, saying Mateen once asked him out.
The classmate said that he, Mateen and other classmates would hang out, sometimes going to gay nightclubs, after classes at the Indian River Community College police academy. He said Mateen asked him out romantically.

We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” the former classmate said. He asked that his name not be used.

He believed Mateen was gay, but not open about it. Mateen was awkward, and for a while the classmate and the rest in the group of friends felt sorry for him.
A number of patrons have reported that he was a regular at Pulse, there are some reports that he had been going to Pulse for over three years.

I can’t help but wonder if pressure from his father and family, and from his religion drove him to do this horrible act? We see this in politicians who pass draconian anti-LGBT laws who later are caught soliciting men for sex in bathrooms.

This does not justify violence or passing hate legislation, what it means is that society has to remove the stigma from being LGBT. Until people recognize that this is not a choice but is part of the way nature made us we will keep having violence directed against us.

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