President Barack Obama called the mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub Sunday an “act of terror” in remarks to the nation from the White House briefing room. At least 50 people were killed and 53 more wounded in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Trikone, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) people of South Asian descent, who trace their ethnicities to one of the following places: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet, is in mourning. Trikone comprises of not just South Asian LGBTQ people but many of their members are Muslim by faith. Trikone members send their heartfelt condolences to the victims, their families and friends; and endless get-well wishes to those recovering from the tragedy.
“In a month when we proudly acclaim the achievements of our LGBTQ community, it pains to listen to the news of yet another mass shooting. A hate filled action with no basis in cultured and common sense society. The deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. history also reminds us of still prevailing hatred towards our LGBTQ community and reminds us that there is so much work to be done.
We wonder, how many more lives need to be lost before any action is taken to curb the senseless gun violence.
Queer people have been victims for years. Being South Asians affects us as a whole whenever there’s a rise in islamophobia. And those who are Muslims amongst us, are always questioned both from within and outside the community.
We join our many allies and their voices in urging our community and our straight allies to refrain from rhetoric that lays responsibility on any one community. Individual behaviour is not a representation of any one faith, race, ethnicity or gender. We need to be mindful of the narrations we choose to showcase for they may have a rippling effect. Giving in to emotions will only lead to uncontrolled backlash which affects all of us.
Trikone comprises of not just South Asian LGBTQ people but many of us are Muslim by faith. Actions like these make our many identities worry about their coexistence and fuel disbeliefs. We urge everyone to inculcate compassion and empathy in these times. Time and again there has been clear contradiction against the popular narrative of Islam and Homosexuality being at odds. Trikone stands firm with all our community members irrespective of the faith they identify and follow as such.
There will be attempts to fuel this into a fire. There will be attempts to divide our community with ideologies and dialogues. We urge you to use caution and refuse to participate in such unnecessary backlash. It will only delay the healing process.
Let’s stand united against bigotry, racism, and homophobia; and strive to uphold the right of every human being to a right to live irrespective of race, religion, creed, gender, orientation, ethnicity or colour. Let’s create a safe space for our fellow community members,” said the Trikone press release on the occassion.
Hillary Clinton who calls herself herself an ally of the LGBT community echoed Obama’s language in a statement issued later on Sunday, calling the shooting an “act of terror” and an “act of hate.”
Presidential candidate, Donald Trump tweeted: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!”
Bernie Sanders’s released a statement in which he said: “At this point we do not know whether this was an act of terrorism, a terrible hate crime against gay people or the act of a very sick person, but we extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims’ families and loved ones and our thoughts are with the injured and the entire Orlando LGBTQ community.”