Why can’t the media say "homophobic attack?”

by Tommi Avicolli Mecca

While his fellow journalists were stirring up anti-Moslem sentiments with their inflammatory comments about the Orlando mass murderer’s possible connection to ISIS, CNN’s Cooper Anderson, who is openly gay, cut to the chase in his interview with Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General.

He told her that many LGBT folks in the state saw her as a hypocrite for fighting for years against gay marriage and then trying to portray herself as a friend to the community after the horrific attack at the popular Pulse gay nightclub that left 49 folks dead, most of them queer and Latino.

Anderson noted how ironic it was that the partners of the injured queer victims would not have been able to be with them at the hospital or to access info about their condition without the gay marriage statute she opposed and which the court eventually upheld.

Anderson wasn’t trying to be sensationalist. He understood something that other journalists completely missed.

The reality is that the Orlando mass shooting is the most deadly anti-queer and anti-transgender act of violence in this country’s history, second only to the arson fire in a New Orleans gay bar in 1973 that claimed 32 lives. 

It happened because of the entrenched homophobia/transphobia that persists in this culture, despite the many gains of the LGBT movement. Families still ostracize queer and transgender youth, forcing them, in many cases, to leave home. Schools do nothing about the bullying of students perceived as LGBT, allowing them to be tormented day after day, sometimes to the point of suicide.

Legislatures routinely pass anti-gay and anti-transgender laws that restrict our right even to use the bathroom. According to ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio, over 200 anti-gay and anti-transgender bills have been introduced throughout this country in the past six months alone. They’re supported by the Christian Right.

A Christian Right that lost no time in revealing just how much a part of the problem it really is.

CBS News Sacramento reports that, just hours after the tragedy in Orlando, pastor Roger Jimenez, a Baptist minister, told his congregants: “Are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? Um — no — I think that’s great! I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida is a little safer tonight.”

Christianity is not the only religion that condemns queers. Most religions do. They’re all complicit in spreading the homophobia that apparently Mateen suffered from, a homophobia (possibly internalized) that Noor Zahi Salman, Mateen’s wife, acknowledged after the tragedy unfolded. 

“I started noticing in his emotional instability,” she told ABC News, “he would express his anger towards (a) certain culture, homosexuality, because in…Islamic culture, it is really not tolerated, homosexuality, and I know at the time he was trying to get his life straight and follow his faith. I guess that created some confusion between that, and there was definitely moments that he would express his intolerance to homosexuals.”

An intolerance also expressed by Omar's father, Seddique Mir Mateen: "God will punish those involved with homosexuality."

Why couldn’t the media just say “homophobic and transphobic attack” as loudly as it said “radical Islamic terrorism” when it wasn’t even clear that Mateen had any connection to ISIS? Why are there still stories that don’t make it clear that this was, in the words of President Obama, “an attack on the LGBT community,” and the LGBT Latino community?

Another example of the persistent homophobia that won’t even let the media name what has happened to us as an LGBT community.

Views: 246

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on June 17, 2016 at 9:46am

Another example of the persistent homophobia that won’t even let the media name what has happened to us as an LGBT community.

It is pretty damn sad when people, as expressed by the MSM, would rather express hate towards Muslims then express caring and sympathy towards the LGBTQ community.

Comment by Zanelle on June 17, 2016 at 9:49am

To be Gay you must be brave.  So many people are afraid ... I cant understand it but it has to end.  Thank you for writing.  We just have to keep the information coming.  I think religions are afraid of fun.  sigh...

Comment by Zanelle on June 17, 2016 at 9:58am

I saw that interview and the lady was quite distraught.  Those are just people in there....she said.  duh.  It was as if she was just realizing that and I was so glad Anderson nailed her.  Change comes one person at a time.  What else can we do to make it all ok?  Keep writing and talking.   Explaining.  

Comment by koshersalaami on June 17, 2016 at 4:25pm
You're right about less talk about homophobia than about the nature of the attacker. It's backward.

You have a lot of allies in the religious community. Don't be so quick to assume we're not here.
Comment by Arthur James on June 17, 2016 at 4:36pm


It's confusing... hate

sure diminishes  and

Ruins folks... I read a

Proverb : the cheerful

Heart is a Medicine. A

Nasty Inner Spirit will

cause Ya's a Inner Ill

that Withers Spirit &

Causes Ya's Bones

& Marrow To Wither.


I stop off

and get


It a Ill


We do



Comment by nerd cred on June 17, 2016 at 4:47pm

Anderson was at his best in that interview. He calmly and quietly, in his almost sweet way, called that hateful bitch out. She looked exactly like the fool she is.

I wonder if everything wasn't so focused on "radical islam" if there wouldn't be more focus on the LGBT aspect. That is, that it's less omission of LGBT concern than that the MSM can't really hold two ideas at the same time. I'm not saying that's so, I'm saying maybe. I don't think the media's that homophobic but I may be pollyanna-ing about it.

My daughter-in-law asks you not to tar all Christians with the same brush. (Well, she asks me ... insistently.) This is the front of her house now. I'm fairly certain this has a bit more to do with her than with my son - but just a bit. She's an elder in her Presbyterian church. I'm sure the Ramadan sign is from there so probably the rainbow flag, too. She has close gay friends, particularly her closest childhood friends, one gay, one transgender. And a very conservative Baptist pastor's family - so her alliance is not without cost to her. There's one moved to the right side.

Among other things: 
GLBT Pride Festival | June 25 & 26  
Westminster, along with several downtown congregations of faith, is sponsoring a booth at the Pride Festival in Loring Park. For more information or to volunteer at the booth, call Phil ...

Comment by koshersalaami on June 17, 2016 at 5:49pm


Have a look at the video here. I don't include the link straight to the video because this link brings you into the germane part of the video. It is of Rev. William Barber of my (current but soon to be former) state of North Carolina, head of the state NAACP, founder of Moral Mondays, and one of the most prominent preachers in the United States. (I've seen him preach - he deserves to be.) He fought hard against Amendment One, the amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and he fought HB2 (still is, really). 

The biggest anti-HB2 rally here in Greensboro took place in a church. I played piano for the song that ended it. The mayor was in attendance. It was organized by my rabbi and other area clergy. Clergy were invited to sit in the seats on the pulpit and there were easily twenty clergy there. 

Some congregations approve of gay marriage religiously, like the Reform Judaism movement I belong to, and some that don't within their own denominations are extremely opposed to civil actions limiting the LGBT community, viewing it as a human rights issue (which it of course is). 


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