Reflecting on the Orlando shooting and its aftermath

Florida Gov. Daniel Malloy visits the site of June's shooting at Pulse nightclub. Photo courtesy of Gov. Malloy's Office
Florida Gov. Daniel Malloy visits the site of June’s shooting at Pulse nightclub.
Photo courtesy of Gov. Malloy’s Office

Rebekah Gray
Opinion Staff Writer
[email protected]
Over two months passed since the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Forty-nine people were shot dead and 53 more were injured on July 12. It is the deadliest shooting thus far in United States history and one that shook the LGBT community to its core.
The nightclub was supposed to be a safe place, yet it was invaded. So many lost their lives and many more lost loved ones, friends and family.
I vividly remember the day after, when I heard the news of the shooting. I do not think I will be able to forget that day, either. It is burned into my memory, along with all the emotions that came along with it.
I remember the fear I felt most of all.
I am pansexual. I am non-binary. This was the wake up call that there are people who want me, and people like me dead. I am faced with the very real possibility that me or my friends could be murdered for simply being the way we are.
Someone, filled with hatred, took up a gun and killed people like me.
The bigger news outlets reporting on the shooting even hid the fact that the nightclub was a gay nightclub at first. Certain politicians used the shooting as a platform, when previously they were trying to pass bills allowing discrimination against the very victims who were the target of the shooting.
Two months later and not much has changed. Politicians and governors who expressed sympathy returned to passing bills that oppress the LGBT community. Gun control laws have not been strengthened.
What’s more, people have used the Pulse shooting as a platform to blame the Muslim community. They have pointed fingers at Islam, even though the shooter was by no means devout. They smear hate on a religion that has nothing to do with the act that claimed so many lives. They tried to turn the fight for justice onto Islam, rather than onto homophobia.
When nothing is changing, when the blame is placed where it does not belong, when the real problems are avoided, how are we supposed to stay safe? We can not be safe. We are not safe. Not when the real issues are not being addressed such as gun control and the rampant oppression against both the LGBT community and the Muslim community. Not unless something changes soon.