Orlando Shines A Light On Anti-LGBT Atrocities Across The World

The Orlando massacre has been named the single largest atrocity against LGBT people since the Holocaust, but look at the numbers of LGBT people murdered across the world every year, and you’ll see another holocaust is happening, says Brian Finnegan.

Photographs of the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting

As headlines are generated about the Orlando massacre I would also like to call your attention to a little-reported murder that took place in Honduras somewhere between June 1 and 3.

On Friday, June 3 the body of LGBT rights defender, René Martínez was found in San Pedro Sula. 40-year-old René had been missing since June 1 when assailants seized him and forced him into a car as he returned home from work. His body bore signs of terrible brutality.

René was president of Comunidad Gay Sampredrana, a San Pedro Sula-based LGBT advocacy group that worked throughout northern Honduras.

The reluctance in some areas of the media in the immediate aftermath of the Orlando massacre to name it as an attack on LGBT people speaks volumes about the willful ignoring of what is happening to LGBT people across the world.

On Sky News journalist Owen Jones walked off the set when presenter Mark Longhurst persistently refused to accept that gunman Omar Mateen had specifically targeted LGBT people. It was an attack “against human beings”, Longhurst insisted, and “the freedom of all people to try to enjoy themselves.”

ISIS may have jumped on a blurry bandwagon, claiming responsibility because Mateen pledged allegiance to Islamic State, but we now know that he had been a regular at Pulse nightclub and had messaged men on gay dating apps, looking to meet up, so his motivations were not so black and white.

No matter what fuelled Mateen’s decision to open fire at Pulse, the fact that it was a safe place in which LGBT people congregated cannot be removed from either the motivations or consequences of the attack. It was not an attack on the freedom of all people to try to enjoy themselves; it was an act of hate and violence against LGBT people, an attack on our freedom to socialise safely, and on our fundamental dignity.

To imply that this terrible truth is not of importance is to disavow the fact that LGBT people across the world are constantly attacked, abused, disenfranchised, tortured and murdered simply for being who they are. The Orlando attack may have been the largest mass murder of LGBT people since the Holocaust, but the numbers of individuals killed across the world every year for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or simply identified as such, makes up a holocaust in itself. We can’t deny it, and no one can stand by and say it’s simply an attack on everyone.

The attack comes at a time when many places in the world, including Orlando, are preparing to celebrate Pride. Now more than ever it feels imperative that LGBTs across the world march through our cities and streets, showing that we cannot be silenced, that any attack on an LGBT life is a targeted attack on our humanity, and that no matter what, we will not hide who we are.

This year I will be marching at Dublin Pride in solidarity not only with those beautiful human beings who were brutally murdered in Orlando, some of whom are pictured above, but with all of those who are oppressed and have been senselessly murdered for being LGBT across the world.

© 2016 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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