Since news first broke Sunday morning of the mass shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando that left 50 people dead, there has been a concerted effort from conservative politicians, religious groups, celebrities, and even the media to erase LGBT people from the story.
This is not a coincidence nor an accident. In fact, it’s simply a continuation of the tactics regularly used to perpetuate stigma and discrimination against the LGBT community.
The most evident example of this erasure came from the Republican Party. Immediately after the shooting, there was a stark difference between the way that Democrats and Republicans responded to the tragedy — most Democrats mentioned that LGBT people were targeted, while Republicans elided this fact. As became clear later in the week, this was not by pure chance.
The Republican National Committee’s original statement on Sunday in response to the shooting included the statement, “Violence against any group of people simply for their lifestyle or orientation has no place in America or anywhere else.” The problematic term “lifestyle” aside, the statement at least acknowledged that because Pulse was a gay nightclub, the victims were unarguably targeted for their identities.
By Monday, however, the statement changed and the sentence mentioning “orientation” was gone. Any allusion to the specific community that was attacked was literally deleted. This deletion was even publicly acknowledged and defended. RNC spokesperson Lindsay Walters confirmed to Mashable that the statement had been revised to refer to “a terrorist attack against any American” so as to be more inclusive. Walters said the new language “invoked a common humanity and referenced all Americans instead of singling out LGBT people,” as Mashable reported.
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) took it a step further, openly denying that Pulse was a gay club mere hours before blocking an LGBT protections amendment from advancing in his committee.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment