The discourse surrounding the horrifying massacre at the Pulse gay club in Orlando has been dominated on the left by calls for gun control and by shameless Islamophobia on the right. What’s left out of both discussions is the significance of targeting a symbol of LGBT culture – and that homophobic violence is still a huge killer across the world.
For just a few weeks ago there was a slaughter at a different gay club – this one in Veracruz, Mexico. A gunman entered the La Madame nightclub and began firing indiscriminately into the crowd of around 180, killing at least seven and injuring twelve – though contrasting reports say the death toll might have been as high as fifteen. Just like the Orlando massacre, the incident is being swept under the rug, chalked up to the vague catch-all excuse of “drug violence,” entirely ignoring the significance of the target and the victims.
“They opened the doors violently and drew their guns. There were shouts. They had no mercy. Bullets ricocheted everywhere. The white tiles were stained red. Those who wanted to escape slipped in puddles of blood. It was a slaughterhouse” mourned one survivor.
Anti-LGBT violence in no stranger to Mexico, where homophobia has deep cultural roots, thanks to the cultural genocide perpetuated by the rapist conquistadors. The patriarchal repression of the Catholic Church exterminated the once-tolerant local traditions, which historical evidence indicates condoned openly homosexual marriages – traditions that were immediately condemned as savagery and proof of demonic corruption.
The true savagery, however, lies with the brutally unforgiving conventions of papist social control that still hold strong across the Americas. To this day, it leads to the perception of LGBT folks as unholy abominations, provoking persecution and violence against innocent people in the name of the primitive superstitions of ages past. We no longer believe that Jerusalem is the center of the universe; why we persist in adhering to these oppressive and archaic “traditions” is beyond reason.
The lack of coverage on this incident is appalling – but perhaps that’s because this atrocity can’t be hijacked to promote an unrelated political agenda. “The LGBT community in Latin America regularly faces violence, and Islam has nothing to do with it. Though Latin America has been seen as a global leader in gay rights for gay marriage legislation, protections against discrimination and general tolerant views, violence – fatal or not – persists” writes Telesur. Violence against LGBT people is a global epidemic that must be addressed and recognized for what it is; we must come to grips with how the sociocultural dominance of how conservative conceptions of sexuality is literally killing people.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.