Terrorism Doesn’t Care About Your Safe Space

Dear American Liberals,

LGBTQ+ are Americans as much as I am an American. A terrorist attack at a nightclub with a predominantly LGBTQ+ clientele is not an “LGBTQ+ tragedy,” it is an American tragedy.

I will not give Orlando victims any more “special attention” than I gave the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, the victims of the Paris Bataclan attacks, the victims of the San Bernardino Massacre, or the victims of 9/11, because each of these attacks was a hate crime, having been perpetrated by Islamic extremists against anyone following an ideology less puritanical than their chosen interpretation.

Therefore, in the wake of a terror attack, I will do whatever I can to help and comfort victims, but their suffering is not “worse” because they’re not cisgender and straight. Would you tell a cisgender heterosexual suffering PTSD flashbacks that their trauma is less real, because they weren’t specifically targeted? What about victims of the Orlando attack that are cisgender and/or heterosexual allies?

The LGBTQ community is always united in struggle, so instances of direct violence and harm affect even those displaced from the situation. Moments of mass violence are always threatening and scary, but they especially hit home when directly impacting “safe spaces” for a community that is constantly on guard for discrimination, harassment and harm.

Let’s discuss this bit from Mashable:

  1. Why does “being united in struggle” mean that a terror attack affects you more than it affects me?
    After Nidal Hasan, motivated by the same ideology, opened fire on soldiers at Fort Hood, we didn’t hear that “the military community is always united in struggle,” so the attack would affect even those outside of Fort Hood. In fact, the terror attack was first classified as “workplace violence,” in spite of mounds of contrary evidence.
  2. Why was the night club considered a “safe space?”
    Were non-allies kicked out for being less than supportive? And if so, isn’t that even less tolerant than say… a flower shop refusing to decorate a gay couple’s wedding? (Arlene’s Flowers provided flowers for the plaintiffs on many occasions over the years, and only balked at servicing the wedding.)
  3. As a character in a recent episode of South Park complained, “Reality’s here! He’s trying to crash the party!”
    Reality here: You can make your home a safe space, provided no one in your family ever leaves, and provided you live remotely enough to prevent overhearing traffic and neighbors. A night club will never be a “safe space.” Public spaces cannot prevent you from experiencing harm. LGBTQ+ are not special snowflakes.

If you want equal rights, and to be treated equally, stop telling me you require special treatment. The #pride flag shouldn’t be flying at half staff over the Space Needle; the American flag should be there. Americans should be gathering to support and defend each other, regardless of sexual orientation. Don’t tell me you’re more victimized than someone else. Don’t tell me I’m “erasing you from your tragedy.” Don’t want to be othered? Don’t expect to be treated as a separate class of terrorism victim. We are all Americans, and we are all the targets of terrorists because we value freedom and liberty over convert or die. Fifty Americans were killed today, and another 50+ were injured. Thousands of Americans have today felt the sting of Islamic terrorism as it personally affected them, their families, and their friends.

Regardless of screed, race, or sexual orientation, terrorism is a horrific scourge, and must be fought by all Americans, standing united.