homophobia open thread

Open Thread: Mass shooting at gay nightclub in Orlando; at least 50 dead

Police, sherriff and FBI officials at a press conference this morning
Law enforcement officials at a press conference this morning

UPDATE 2, 1 PM central time

Horrific news out of Orlando: A gunman armed with an assault rifle and other weapons killed at least 50 in a terrorist attack the Pulse nightclub in Orlando; more than 50  have been taken to hospitals.

The gunman, killed in a shootout with police, has been identified as Omar Mateen; the Daily Beast reports that he was previously investigated by the FBI. NBC is reporting that before the shootngs he called 911 and swore allegiance to ISIS.

NBC is also reporting that Mateen was a violent homophobe, according to his father. It seems clear that the club was deliberately targeted because it catered to the LGBT community. The father told NBC that the shootng was likely motivated by his son’s hatred of gays. “This had nothing to do with religion,” he told them.

His ex-wife told the Washington Post that he was an unstable and abusive man. “He beat me,” she saud. “He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.”


Meanwhile, 4chan trolls are busily spreading disinformation about the shooting.

Please post your thoughts, and any relevant information you run across.

166 replies on “Open Thread: Mass shooting at gay nightclub in Orlando; at least 50 dead”

@ axecalibur

does anyone know what ‘virtue signaling’ is

It’s where someone publicly adopts or supports a particular position to show what a sound person they are.

So a person may click ‘like’ on a Facebook post supporting refugees or start using #blacklivesmatter to demonstrate that they’re not racist.

There’s an implication though that the person doing it is more concerned with appearance than the actual substantive issue.


sometimes when I see two men or two women kissing it makes me uncomfortable

Cool, but keep that stuff to yourself. Nobody wants to hear that you find them gross.

Short answer: “Virtue Signalling” == “Anyone who cares about anything doesn’t actually care, they just want to make themselves look good”. I.e. ad-hominem bullshit to be used against anyone who cares about a thing.

Virtue Signalling is a “theory” about why people do altruistic things. (Can’t ever do something for anything but selfish reasons after all – economics says so donchakno.) So the idea is that many people engage in altruistic behaviour to signal to other people that they are a good and worthwhile person, so as to raise their social status. There’s no actual desire to do good for other people involved – people do good things to make themselves look good.

To be fair this is a thing, to an extent. Sometimes people will brag about, like, recycling, or some other high-minded goal, and they stop doing the thing when they no longer get the social reward for it. But it’s far from a large motivation. As always, people are complicated and do things for many reasons. The phrase is overused and seems to be mostly a generic insult to shut down anyone trying to bring attention to something. It can be applied to anyone making a positive statement, and is also wholly unfalsifiable and has no bearing on the actual point – it’s just saying “You don’t actually care about the thing, you just want to look like you do!”

I think the phrase entered the alt-rightosphere by way of the blog Overcoming Bias, a companion blog (parent, perhaps) to Less Wrong. Overcoming Bias has a lot of contrarian positions which are excellent koans for meditating on bias, perception, and the nature of reality. It also too often boils everything down to economic theory, which makes the statements fall flat.

The straight people ignoring homophobia in order to argue for and against gun control or to be racist and islamiphobic are super gross. Like, this isn’t about you, shut the fuck up.

I’ve been crying in and off this afternoon. I don’t feel safe and I’m afraid for my friends. I know a gay man in Alabama, and he knows people who have been to that club. He likes to hang out in lgbt clubs, too and I thiiinnk he moonlights as a bar tender at one. He could be a victim if an attack like this, and that’s scary.

You’re right, @authorialAlchemy, this is about homophobia first and foremost. I’m sorry if I contributed.

One of the worst parts of this tragedy was all the racists, bigots, and general scum of the Earth who leapt at the opportunity to either a) make snarky remarks about how liberals will use this as an excuse to take their guns, b) attack Islam, or c) gloat at the fact that LGBT+ people were killed. I swear, I bet people like that sit around waiting for something like this so they can use it as a soapbox for their disgusting opinions

@authorialAlchemy – Sorry, I didn’t mean to erase the victims, or to overlook the understandable sense of fear amongst the LGBTQ community in the wake of this attack.


I swear, I bet people like that sit around waiting for something like this so they can use it as a soapbox for their disgusting opinions.

Oh, but we’re the ones “politicizing” it.

Eh, no one here has been doing all that, I’m just talking about responses I saw elsewhere and in the media.

Apparently the “islamic terrorist” thing was started by a racist police officer.

In my more cynical moments, I think that the only way for this country’s leaders to finally take gun violence seriously en mass is when the victim lists start to include their own loved ones on them. Then, and only then, will they find the backbone to finally do something about the rising death tolls here. Until then, they aren’t going to care ’cause, in their minds, its not their problem and thus not that urgent to solve.

I hope and pray that it doesn’t take that to get them moving on the issue. 🙁

@Redsilkphoenix Sandy Hook didn’t do anything much, and that was murdering children. Wish I could be more hopeful. :/

Apparently the “islamic terrorist” thing was started by a racist police officer.

Can anyone confirm this for me please?

It’s completely understandable why this atrocity is on everybody’s minds and the focus of people’s attention.

I am a bit frustrated though that now the Brock Turner story has been consigned to oblivion. I really thought it might be a catalyst for change, or at least a dialogue on rape culture. Although maybe I was right to be pessimistic when it wrote this on the other thread.

Perhaps were being pessimistic but we came to the conclusion it wouldn’t. Chances are it’ll be a minor cause célèbre, but like #kony2012 and #bringbackourgirls it’ll soon be forgotten as people move on to the next story in their newsfeed.

Like is say I’m not criticising anyone for focussing on this. It’s completely natural and understandable. But it is so infuriating and just another (maybe minor in the grand scheme of things) reason to hate this murdering bastard who did this.

“Apparently the “islamic terrorist” thing was started by a racist police officer.”

Nope, it’s been confirmed. Shooters name was Omar Mateen from Port Saint Lucie, Florida. He was a muslim that fell in with the Radical Terrorist crowd and was homophobic for many years.

You know, just this afternoon I saw “Coming Out”, an East German film about a gay man living in East Berlin just before the Wall came down. A bit of trivia: the movie premiered the day the Wall came down, and might have suffered a lack of attention because of that. The characters talk about being afraid, and some of them are ashamed at being gay, but in the end the story seems to say the best thing to do is accept yourself for who you are, as long as you don’t hurt anybody. It’s a movie from almost 40 years ago. Then I get home and see this.

Maybe there will always be people who hate anyone in any sort of minority, but for fuck’s sake, they can be aware that they have the problems, and nobody else needs to be a target. It’s just so disgusting and typical that the hateful attack groups that don’t threaten them, or anyone in any real way. Cowards, the lot of them. May the ghosts of their own hate always be in their peripheral vision.

Oh jesus fucking Christ I just had a brief conversation with my mum who said that the gunman must have been mentally ill or “unbalanced” because “nobody just goes out and kills like that.” I tried to insist that it was probably just rampant hatred that made him do it but she just repeated herself again.

Argh. Please tell me there has been nothing in the media that tried to argue the same tired old excuse.

This is so tragic, how many more innocent people have to die before we enforce the gun control laws!? How many of us have to die before we become more stricted towards hate and discrimination!? What should we do besides praying and share info around!?

My heart goes out to the victims and their families. I will pray for them.

It makes me sick to see people do these horrible things and people will either defend or praise them. Yes it’s terrorism but in the media, comment section, society in general if you’re not white then you are a thug or/terrorist but if you are white then you are “mentally ill”, “misguided”, etc.

I want to cry now.

Ugh yeah I dealt with people like her as well.


Between Brock Turner, Christina Grimmie, and now this, I’m really rather not feeling proud to be an American.

@Fruitloopsie, the only thing I’ve ever heard that makes any sense on what to actually do about it is a hassle, really: Organize. Get on the phone and the internet, and get local people together. Bombard your congressperson with mail, and let them know two things: 1) If they fight for gun control you will volunteer for their campaigns, keep them in office, etc, and 2) if they don’t fight for gun control you will do everything you can to get them kicked out of office for someone who will.

The NRA Lobby’s leash is around the government’s necks, but at the end of they day they need to be elected and re-elected for that to mean anything. That gives you a tiny bit of leverage. Schedule some time every week for working on it, and do it. Lean on’em until they cry, and then keep pushing until they do it.

The federal government is bought and sold but not so much the states. Work local, organize, get active. It’s the only thing I can think of that would have a chance of doing anything about this. They can ignore one person. Ignoring thousands of motivated, active people? Politicians usually know better than that. I imagine local LGBT groups would be a great place to start looking. Local (progressive) churches as well, perhaps.

Whatever happens, I hope something is done for you guys down there. It’s a nightmare.

Hearts and hugs to all my southern neighbours <3

@ dslucia

You (and your fellow Americans) are no more responsible for those things than every Muslim is responsible for the events last night or I am for the behavior of British football hooligans in France.

Trigger warning for memories of similar events

Just listening to a programme over here that analyses tomorrow’s early editions of newspapers. Our papers have gone down the route of comparing this to the Bataclan massacre. I can see why; but to me it’s more reminiscent of the Admiral Duncan attacks.

It is true that in ISIS’s magazine there’s a sort of ‘how to’ guide guide for lone wolf Jihadis; and one suggested target is gay nightclubs. However, in the same way that MRA groups (and I do think there’s a parallel) capitalise on malcontents’ pre-existing hate, I get the impression that this guy had issues with gay people regardless. He may have carried this out in the name of ISIS; and their sick ideology may have provided him with a justification; but I’m not sure he wouldn’t have done it anyway.

Orlando local here, and I’d like to make a request of anyone reading these comments. Our local blood donation centers have been inundated with wonderful people stepping up to help the wounded, and they need supplies to handle the large crowds. Amazon Prime Now is live in Orlando, so if you can send anything, gatorade, water, boxes of cookies and other snacks, etc, it would be greatly appreciated! I’m not sure what their operating hours are right now, but that info will be on their websites. Thank you! <3

The assumption is that if someone walks into a church or a school or a club and opens fire he is “crazy”, therefore take guns away from “crazy” people and every thing will be totes fine. *sigh* And you can’t tell any of those parroting this crap any different.

These people aren’t “mentally ill” in the sense that they heard Manson in their head telling them to do what they did. Instead, they had our culture telling them it was ok to do what they did, AND handing them to the tool to do it with.

TL;DR: A guy who shoots 100 people because he hates gays isn’t “crazy”. He’s a fucking asshole.

Tangent: Uruguayans often assume I am from one of several Scandinavian countries due to my red hair being very rare here and more common there. Today I didn’t bother to correct anyone. I was too ashamed to admit where I was from.

Can anyone confirm this for me please?

Okay, maybe the “ties to ISIS” isn’t as outlandish as I thought it was. Dude still isn’t ISIS, he just probably liked them. ._. He may have been a sympathizer.

He still wasn’t particularly religious.

I have a bad feeling that this will turn into pinkwashing.

This is dreadful. My sympathies to everyone affected.

Like Redsilkphoenix, I suspect that Republican politicians will fight gun control until people they can empathise with are victims of gun violence. Rather like they fought stem cell research until there was a chance it might help Ronald Reagan.

I have an uneasy feeling that it might happen when Trump loses.

It seems trite to suggest that this amounts to ‘good’ news, but perhaps there’s some comfort/relief in that it appears the authorities successfully interdicted an attempt to bomb the gay pride event in Los Angeles. One man in custody, explosives recovered, no further details as yet.

I need to go tell my sister I love her. She came out a while back and the fact that I fear for her even more than I do is very depressing.

I can’t even process this right now. I just can’t. I’m sick of gun massacres. I’m sick of hiding that I’m bisexual at certain times for fear of my safety. I’m sick of worrying about the safety of my LBGT+ friends or anyone else who doesn’t fit into the small, restrictive box our society puts sexual relationships in.

Missed my edit window. I have friends visiting Orlando right now. They were in a Target checking out and their cashier kept making mistakes and acting all flustered. They asked her if something was the matter. She responded that a co-worker she knew really well was killed at The Pulse. I can’t imagine losing a co-worker like that.

@Saphira No shit. No fucking shit. The thing that got me (well, broke my numbness, anyway) was looking on the facebook page for the documentary Upstairs Inferno and noting that their tagline ‘Largest Gay mass murder in US history’ had been crossed out in red. :/

I see a lot of helpless feelings and expressions that there’s nothing anyone can do to get gun control enacted.

That’s not true. What you can do (if you are an American) is take a close interest in your state elections. Republicans own the House because of gerrymandering; gerrymandering happens because the state legislature draws the district lines to maximize the Republican representation in the House.

In 2020 (4 years) there will be a new Census. After the Census, state legislatures will be required to re-draw their district lines. TAKE AN INTEREST IN YOUR STATE LEGISLATURE, NOW, IF YOU WANT THE HOUSE TO EVER CHANGE.

Too many people get worked up about the presidential election, and to some degree their elections to the US Congress, and then fall down completely when it comes to their state government. Fucking stop it, people. The important races are the down-ticket ones. Those are the ones that count, and those are the ones that so many Americans can’t give the first shit about until it’s too late.

If you feel helpless and you wish there was something you, personally, could do, this is it: work toward getting your state representation changed. District lines are drawn every 10 years and now is the time to do something about what is going to happen in 2021 and 2022 when the Census numbers come in.

I’m not sure what it says about me, but I’m increasingly finding myself more horrified by the public’s reaction to these things than the actual atrocities. And let me tell you, I sure feel great that the hard-right tools that couldn’t give less of a shit about LGBT people like me are showing their support as an excuse to hate muslims.

@Alan + Scildfreja
Thanks for the explanations re: ‘virtue signalling’. They think they’re so clever, don’t they?

In my more cynical moments, I think that the only way for this country’s leaders to finally take gun violence seriously en mass is when the victim lists start to include their own loved ones on them.

In the US, guns have more rights than people. I don’t think the right wing will take gun violence seriously until an innocent gun is accidentally shot. Then there’ll be hand-wringing and lamenting over a firearm cut down in its prime, before it even had a chance to form a well-regulated militia.

Then the NRA’s response will be to urge everyone to arm “good guns” with guns, to protect themselves from the “bad guns”. And then the gun’s guns will need guns, because you never know.

I’m so disgusted with this country’s priorities right now, and the way we’ve allowed the gun lobby to take our politicians hostage, and the fact that so many of these shootings are motivated by hatred of women, minorities, and LGBT folks, while almost nobody talks about the toxic stew of male entitlement that makes someone reach for a gun to satisfy their wounded grandiosity. I’m at a loss for words. My heart is aching for the victims and their families.


Despite being ninja’d, I recommend this video, courtesy of H. Bomberguy:

ETA: @Buttercup Q. Skullpants

Then there’ll be hand-wringing and lamenting over a firearm cut down in its prime, before it even had a chance to form a well-regulated militia.

I snorked rather loudly.

I’m one of those people who deals with these events through humor, so I needed that.

I was marching in LA Pride. It was good to see so many people who weren’t afraid to come together, but it’s scary that we were almost the second tragedy of the day.

Oh no! Hope you had some fun, and I’m glad you’re safe
🙂 <3 🙂
Edit: less creepy smileys


Dude still isn’t ISIS, he just probably liked them. ._. He may have been a sympathizer.

The person he most reminds me of is Man Haron Monis, the shithead in Sydney with the Lindt cafe siege. He went so far as to have a couple of the hostages hold an ISIS flag up to the windows of the cafe. Everybody was all flustered about “terrorism” and “we’re all gunna die”.

In reality he was well-known as a chronic offender – charged as an accessory in the murder of his former wife – who had a long history of sexual assaults against women. He was basically a fantasist and a braggart – who despised women. Unlike this guy, he didn’t try to sign up as a police officer, he preferred to boast that he was a secret agent along with other unlikely claims.

I’d put both of these men’s claimed allegiance to their religion in the same box as all those “christians” who attack Planned Parenthood. They wear the religion badge as a cover for their bigotry and an excuse for unforgivable violence.

does anyone know what ‘virtue signaling’ is

In its most visible form it’s the latest pop attempt to explain away altruism and it’s particularly unthoughtful. It basically assumes that self interest is the only real motivator. People who use it that way think in general that as they long as they assert it, it’s true, without caring for evidence.

He still wasn’t particularly religious.

Rather few of Da’esh’s supporters or members are. Many have a history of petty crime, including recreational use of alcohol or other drugs. ‘Radicalisation’ has more to do with the rejection of mainstream society over (real and perceived) grievances than zeal.

Taking the extreme violence and the perpetrators obvious intent to die in the process into account, I don’t see what’s wrong with acknowledging that extremist rhetoric may have had a role to play in this.

The shooter’s father seems to be in a competition with Brock Turner’s father about who can be the biggest apologist dickhead.

“I am very sad and I’ve announced this to the American people as well. Why did he do this act during this holy month of Ramadan. On the topic of being hamjensbazi, punishment and the things that they do, God will give the punishment. This is not the issue for a follower of God and he [Omar] that did this has greatly saddened me.

So he’s sad that his son did this rather than leave it to god. Charming.

Woke up this morning to the CBC radio 2 coverage of this, and i was relieved to hear the gunman described as a new york born man living in florida after they mentioned his name. No mention of ISIS, and they did say it was a gay nightclub.

Just wanted to let those of you dealing with shitty coverage know that is is being discussed in a better way in some places.

The difference reminds me of the cbc coverage i streamed during the ottawa attack. They didn’t speculate, the kept repeating what little they knew.

I also wrote up a long post yesterday but didn’t hit ‘send’ because it was too much. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this. I donated a little money.

And anyone who wishes they could donate blood to help… you can. Help out your local blood bank, they could always use it. I also saw that the restriction in Florida on gay/bi men has been temporarily lifted… omg i was wrong, i can’t find any evidence of this.

So it was on social media, but OneBlood is denying it.

This was big news on the Toronto Metro Morning show today, obviously. Along with an interview with Rob Oliphant:

In the hours following the shooting — which saw some 50 people killed and 53 more injured — Liberal Don Valley West MP Rob Oliphant denounced the violence against the gay community.

At the same time, he denounced anyone blaming the violent tragedy on the Muslim community.

All in a single tweet:

Needs to be shared: I am an openly gay MP elected by the largest Muslim community in Canada #cdnpoli #orlando #DVW
— @Rob_Oliphant

@ jenora

When someone explained Twitter to me I couldn’t see the point. What could possibly be worth saying that you could fit in 144 characters?

But that Tweet shows that occasionally there is a point to it.

(I still reserve judgment on every other Tweet ever though)

Yes, Twitter rewards pithiness. Some people can manage it, some can’t. It takes a fairly decent wordsmith to really make art out of it.

Needless to say, here in Toronto, there’s already been talk about dedicating the Pride Parade in three weeks to the victims of this shooting.

And just yesterday, some friends of mine were talking about how this year at Pride both George Takei and Justin Trudeau were going to be marching in the parade; people were joking that if you posted a picture of the two of them kissing you could break the Internet.

(Trudeau will actually be the first sitting Prime Minister to march in Toronto’s Pride Parade. Of course, this is also the man who created a gender-balanced cabinet and said ‘You may ask me why? Because it’s 2016.’ And the son of the man who helped decriminalize private homosexual acts in Canada and whose most famous quote is probably ‘There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation’, even if he took that line from reporter Martin O’Malley. So, quite honestly, I suspect people would have been more surprised if Trudeau had said ‘no’.)

@ignorantianescia Orthodox Sunni Islam (like the variety in Saudi Arabia) tends to be fairly homophobic and more generally hateful towards anyone who doesn’t fit in with their expectations of sexual mores. But the vast majority of Muslims in the West tend to be more moderate or liberal in terms of what they actually believe about sex. Similarly, most young evangelical Christians don’t feel guilty at all about feeling sexually aroused by the opposite sex and many are becoming pro-gay now (only the small group of really dedicated people worries about “lustful thoughts”).

But you’re right, if you look at radical groups like ISIS and the biblical patriarchy groups, you’ll find more people with criminal backgrounds and substance abuse history. Patriarchal churches are attractive because they subversively reject almost every aspect of modern society and they’re heavy on “forgiveness” for members of the in-group but vindictive towards outsiders and society. In some groups, child molestation is literally just as bad as masturbating and “wasting your seed,” so in a sick way child molesters (and other criminals, since bad sex is “worse” than violence and theft) are less stigmatized while other people feel extremely guilty.

So yeah, radicalization happens more because someone wants to reject society and less because someone is interested in spirituality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.