The slaughter in Orlando was an horrific act of homophobia. But public anger over the massacre is now being abused to scapegoat Muslim communities and implicitly justify the West’s monstrous wars in the Middle East, past and future. Trump and liberal hawk Clinton are already framing the Orlando massacre in terms of the West’s civilising mission against Islamic fundamentalism.
The killer, Omar Mateen, was not a hardened Islamic terrorist but an unstable homophobic wife-beater disgusted at the sight of men kissing, who seemed to have developed vague support for divergent Islamist groups online. The Independent states that, according to Matteen’s ex-wife, he “wasn’t very religious and… in the few months they were married [in 2009] he gave no signs of having fallen under the sway of radical Islam.”
Homophobia is rife on the Christian as well as the Islamic Right, and permeates parts of the wider population. The massacre happened a day before James Wesley Howell was caught heading toward the LA Gay Pride festival in a car packed with explosives, rifles and ammunition.
Every attempt to shift the frame here from homophobia to Islamic terrorism is an act of hostility to both Muslims and LGB people. Fortunately some gay activists are already voicing support for Muslims.
This blog offers a left-wing critique of the transgender trend, and nothing in these terrible events provides any reason to change that critique. But the massacre underlines the need to defend transgender people from the threats and vilification they too experience from backwoods haters.