“Love Will Drown Hate”: Twitter Expresses Shock And Solidarity After Orlando Shooting

Posted on June 13, 2016 in LGBTQ, Staff Picks

By Rohini Banerjee:

At least 50 people were killed in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday, when a gunman targeted a gay nightclub, making it one of the deadliest civilian attacks in the United States since 9/11. The shooter, Omar Mateen was apprehended soon after, and claimed ties with ISIS (however, investigations about his claims are still ongoing), and had purchased the guns legally.

The brutality of the shooting has left the world in a frenzy, and has brought up multiple questions into the limelight—of the increasing gun violence in America and the need for gun control, of Islamic extremism, but most importantly, of homophobic hate crimes. While political factions are trying to gloss over the homophobic motivation of the shooting, and focusing on furthering their Islamophobic agendas instead, the threat of violence on the LGBTQ community looms large and potent. Within only a few hours, another gunman was apprehended near the Los Angeles Pride Parade—potentially poised to trigger another mass shooting upon LGBTQ parade-goers. These events, coupled with the ongoing cases of brutality, abuse and violence queer people face on a regular basis show that, even though it’s 2016, being openly LGBTQ—in any part of the world—continues to be a radical, political act which exposes you to the very real threat of violence and death.

“My heart aches for those attacked in a space that was meant to be their own, in a month meant to celebrate their lives,” wrote Twitter user Rachel Feltman, articulating what a lot of people from the LGBTQ community must be feeling at this moment. June is International Pride Month—a month meant to celebrate and revel in one’s queerness, and to embrace one’s identity. To see a gay bar; which is a space for self-expression, of community, for LGBTQ people; gunned down, and the safety and sanctity of that space destroyed, makes the threat of violence all too real.

But what makes the situation seem all too horrific is Florida’s ridiculous laws about gay men being able to donate blood. The homophobic law—which has been in place for years and years—assumes that all sexually active gay men carry sexually-transmitted diseases, and hence cannot donate blood unless they have been celibate for a year. Due to this ridiculous law, countless queer people are now being barred from donating the blood that their own peers, their own community, urgently require.

The situation, from all angles, is bleak. Republicans who actively make policies against marriage equality and adoption equality are piggybacking on this tragedy to spread Islamophobic hate and no political authority is really addressing the homophobic aspect of it all. However, the LGBT community stands strong. The Los Angeles Pride Parade, which happened later on Sunday, carried strong messages in support of the Orlando victims, and photos and videos posted on social media showed thousands from the queer community lining up to donate blood. As John Oliver says in his segment on the Orlando shooting, the Orlando shooter is vastly outnumbered. Since the moment of the attack, Twitter has been overflowing with not just messages of shock and horror, condemning the shootings, but has also been flooded with messages of solidarity and support which shows that in the end, our love will drown out all the hate.

“The most deadly shooting in American history.”

“Deadliest terror attack since 9/11.”

Eddie, a hostage inside the club, sent text messages to his mother while hiding in the bathroom. Horrifying, to say the least.
“Mommy I love you”
“In club they shooting”
“He has us”
“I’m gonna die”
“He’s in the bathroom with us”

he has us
As telecast on WFTV-TV

These people weren’t at the club, but the attack hit real close to home.

“My sister in law knew the shooter.”

“My brother in law lost 11 friends today. He works security in clubs in Orlando.”

“My friend’s friend is missing and that man’s boyfriend is dead.”

“Just existing as a gay person is an act of bravery.”

“Well deserved for those kinds of people”? : A lot of people are talking about living with fear and why such hate crimes need to end.

“She said it was well deserved.”

“My brother is worried about hate crime. He is 15.”

“Being gay, loving each other, can be deadly.”

Twitter users are also driving the point home that the shooter had a gun, because it’s easy to get one in America.

“If gun laws aren’t changed, hate will always win.”

“Human lives matter more than guns.”

Some are also pointing out the ridiculousness of the bathroom bills which discriminates against trans people in this context:

Some prominent queer celebrities came out in solidarity

Laverne Cox

Ellen Page

Ellen DeGeneres

#ChooseLove and #LoveIsLove: People hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

A 7-year-old writes: “I wish that people is loving as can be. It is not normal when you hate somebody when they are not same as you. I pray for those families that lost their children.”

“Senseless violence accomplishes nothing.”

“I’m tired of the hate.”