So many news stories and so many theories and so many questions. The hardest question and the one everyone seems to be trying to answer is…why?
I guess my answer is, “Does it matter why a terrible person chose to walk into a bar and take 49 lives…innocent lives?”
Does it matter if he was a terrorist? Does it matter if he was homophobic? No matter the answer, those young men and women are still dead and no matter the answer that reality is not going to change.
Now I do think there is one possible answer to the question (Why?) that would disturb me more than any other. If this disturbed man took the lives of vibrant members of the LGBTQ community because he feared his own feelings of homosexuality. This answer would cause me to be horribly disturbed.
The reality is self loathing homophobia is not unusual. Sadly many children have been raised by well intentioned parents to hate themselves. Parents that believe their hateful words towards the gay community will teach their children to avoid making the “choice” to “join” the LGBTQ community. When in fact what their words do is force their child to internalize hate.
When our preachers, rabbis and imams stand before their congregations and preach hatred toward LGBTQ people what they are teaching the gay boy or lesbian girl, sitting before them, is that God hates them.
Our society, our families and our churches teach young LGBTQ people they are not worthy of love. It wasn’t that long ago that we rallied around the young people in our community and told them not to kill themselves, it will get better. Now I hear news outlets questioning if this young man hated himself enough to kill total strangers.
A few years ago I got into a debate with a woman on Facebook. A woman I did not know. I felt a need to reason with her, explain to her why her homophobic words could be hurtful to her son and daughter. I tried to tell her if by some chance one of her children happened to be gay and all they heard throughout their childhood was hateful words about gays, then their immediate assumption will be that she hates them..even if she gave birth to them.
I do not mean to jump to conclusions about “why” the shooter took the lives of the innocent men and women at the Pulse nightclub. But earlier today, when news outlets started sharing information that indicated he might have visited more than one gay club and he may have used a gay app….it dawned on me how much of our society is truly to blame. If this is true then we not only get to blame the Muslims, we also get to blame the Christians that teach gays to hate themselves. I realize there are good parents that love their children whether they are gay or straight. I also realize there are many Muslims, Jews and Christians that love their LGBTQ neighbors. But those who do preach hatred and those that feel people in the LGBTQ community deserve death must step up and accept their role in this recent tragedy.