This is the text of a Leeds Socialist Party leaflet which we will be distributing at the solidarity vigil with the victims of the shooting at the LGBT nightclub, Pulse in Orlando yesterday. The vigil takes place from 10.30pm onwards on Monday 13th June at Lower Briggate.
Early Sunday morning, a gunman armed with a handgun and rifle opened fire on a gay club in Orlando, Florida. With over 50 people and many more injured this has been the second biggest act of terrorism in the US since 9/11 and the biggest single mass shooting in the US ever.
Coming during Pride Month and with the sole reason, so far given, for the attack currently being that the killer had seen two men kissing, this has been a sobering reminder for LGBTQ people across the world that despite the massive steps forward LGBTQ people have made, and despite the claims of some in power that with marriage equality homophobia is over, that we still face massive oppression due to our sexuality or gender identity. Sadly for LGBTQ people going to a gay bar or kissing their partner in public is still a political act that can put us at immense risk.
This serves to underscore the fact that Pride Month is as important as ever; legislation and human rights acts do little to prevent the day to day homophobia and transphobia LGBTQ people face. The biggest steps forward for LGBTQ rights have never come from politicians they’ve come from the LGBTQ community gathering together with other communities and fighting such as following the Stonewall riots, during the battle against HIV/AIDS and the actions of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) during the miners strike.
There have been some attempts by people such as Donald Trump to argue that this attack, and most threats to the LGBTQ community, is due to Islam. However, the threat of homophobia and transphobia doesn’t come from one community; in past six months in the US the christian right have tried to introduce hundreds of pieces of anti-lgbtq legislation. Politicians that are now expressing sympathy with Orlando (many desperately avoiding mentioning that it was a gay bar which was attacked) were attacking trans people trying to use the bathroom (some arguing that trans people should be forced to use bushes rather than public toilets).
Homophobia and transphobia is not an “Islam problem” it’s a problem within capitalist society as a whole and won’t be beaten by attacking muslim people but only by LGBTQ people and muslim people and all the wider working classes across the world to change society.