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Nancy Smith

LGBTs: Always That Target on Their Backs

June 13, 2016 - 5:30pm

Diversity isn't the good word liberals would have you believe. In reality, the majority of people on this planet don't want diversity, can't accept it in others, won't work with the problems it presents.

This isn't a new revelation for me or our large family. We have interracial couples among us. We have gays and lesbians. Actually, we overflow with diversity.

But it certainly is a large part of what horrified me about Sunday's massacre in an Orlando gay nightclub.

Each of our family members who walks a different path -- some of the bravest people I know -- has suffered one form of cruel intolerance or another, including physical abuse, in a society that doesn't love Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors" or the rainbow she sees any more now than it did in 1986. 

I Beg to DifferI know they always believed they were safe together in their clubs. "We're LGBTs," my granddaughter often told me with a big smile. "Together, we can do anything."

Pulse was that kind of place. Where LGBTs could go without worrying whose footsteps were following, where acceptance and safety were givens from the minute they walked through the door.

But Sunday proved them wrong. It proved the LGBT community is still as big a target as it ever was. Maybe more hearts and minds have been changed since Cindi Lauper first saw those true colors in the '80s. But for some people, diversity in human behavior is a bow they will never, ever tie.

Turns out we've seen how vulnerable the LGBTs are.

Terrorism or homophobia? CNN asked Sunday. "The answer is yes. Both." My gay family members -- maybe some of yours, too -- have two fierce enemies right there, and frankly, loving them as I do, I'm terrified. 

It turns out shooter Omar Marteen may have been motivated by both homophobia and Islamic radicalism. That should not come as a surprise. We've seen fundamentalist Islamic governments execute young gay men, and terrorist groups have done it in so many gruesome ways I haven't the stomach to write it here.

Add to this the fact that LGBTs are largely pacifistic; they don't pack guns, and people hunting them like Mateen know it. Are there easier targets?

I have a particular soft spot for Pulse because I know co-owner Barbara Poma's story. The club is her life. She established it in 2004 as a kind of sanctuary in honor of her brother John, who died of AIDS.   

“It was important to create an atmosphere that embraced the gay lifestyle with décor that would make John proud," she said in a recent interview. "Most importantly, [we] coined the name Pulse for John’s heartbeat -- as a club that is John’s inspiration, where he is kept alive in the eyes of his friends and family.”

Poma's Facebook page tells us Saturday was Latin night at Pulse. Latin night always draws a big crowd -- in fact, an estimated 320 people were still inside at 2 a.m. when the shooting started.

Poma posted these words against a black screen on the club's website Home page: "Pulse, and the men and women who work there, have been my family for nearly 15 years. From the beginning, Pulse has served as a place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. I want to express my profound sadness and condolences to all who have lost loved ones. Please know that my grief and heart are with you."

I can tell you, after Sunday my fear for loved ones is on high alert. I sense big, fat targets now hang on other gay venues -- other clubs, parades, celebrations, neighborhoods.   

Mateen's father, Mir Seddique, told NBC News his son was not motivated by religion. Instead, he was "angered by the sight of two men kissing during a trip to Miami."

Don't kid yourself. Acceptance of diversity is nowhere near a done deal.

I wish I could end this column on a note of hope. But in the end, as strong and well-wrapped as I know LGBTs are at heart, I'm just a grandmother who worries about my "peeps." And I'm scared to death another Pulse lies ahead. 

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunhinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

....and not one question regarding the blood bank which SELLS all their donated blood to hospitals!! Where's SNN's crack reporting team on this one? Isn't there a profiteering law in Florida against such tactics?

A proper response should include: 1). Cultural diversity should NOT welcome other cultures violently opposed to American ideals; 2). Security measures should NOT bow to political correctness and definitely target the Muslim community for extra surveillance; 3). Security guards who are Muslim should NOT be kept after being investigated for threatening behavior and domestic abuse. 4). Business staff should have concealed gun permits, especially bars and nightclubs (currently excluded in some states like Fla from carrying guns). The PCers say good Muslims won't report bad Muslims if we profile them all. How's that working out so far? The ones who reported Mateen were the non-Muslim coworkers and his first wife. They quit their jobs and she ran away, while Obama's FBI dropped the ball twice. Somehow, the PC-Dem mainstream has twisted American ideals and their own "progressive" ideologies to undermine them, without the media ever reporting that mortal hypocrisy. Paris and Brussels have no NRA to scapegoat. But it's okay to scapegoat the right, right? Quote: "a coalition of Muslim and South Asian groups demanded that the Obama administration “purge all federal government training materials of (allegedly) biased material.” The administration complied, purging all counter-terror training materials of all mention of Islam and jihad." — Detroit News

Gee . . . . just answer this . . . . . who murdered more Americans with guns in the U.S. last year (and for each of the last hundred years) --> Muslims . . . or Christians . . . . . . . . . gee . . . . . who should we be afraid of . . . . . . . . . . religious based bigotry . . . . . . always . . . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . .

There have always been queers of all sorts and varieties. Adults have always known this altho we did not feel morally compelled to bring it up at the supper table. And we did not feel morally compelled to support it and say how great it was. When the queers just went about their business, and minding their own business, seems like things went smoother for everyone. Queers should not be allowed to marry. Period. I should not have to explain why. On the other hand, civil unions make a lot of sense. If two people that love each other and have been together have one come down with an illness, the hospital should not be allowed to deny the other one access to them or not to visit because they are not "family". All of the rights and responsibilities of marriage would be conferred. But you just ain't gonna have kids. I have no problem with them adopting kids. Lord knows there are enough kids dying - literally, dying - for a home. But they would served their cause better if they quit the bullshit parades, quit stamping their feet and demanding their rights as queers and quit dressing like a South American parrot. Sorry kids, but you don't have any special rights because you are a queer. You have the same rights as everyone else. Including making an ass of yourself. But don't expect everyone to get their panties in a was and give a damn.

Gee --> "Queers should not be allowed to marry. Period." . . . . . . looks like someone doesn't believe in the U.S. Constitution and the personal protections legally required under that document . . . . . . . but rather wants separate but equal . . . . . . seems we had that type of bigotry once before . . . . . . . . . . illegal discrimination is always so . . . . . . . . PATHETIC . . . .

"Gee"--->You ARE pathetic, Frank!

Why can't the commenters just listen to Nancy who is talking from the heart. Most of the comments are not necessary and add nothing to the solution if there even is one.

Heart? Nancy's speaking from corporate who only cares about the bottom line $$$ !

Thank you, Nancy, for speaking from the heart. It is greatly appreciated and adds immensely to the conversations. Solutions are always found by trying to understand other people's choices even if we don't agree with them. That is, after all, the American Way!

Now, all of a sudden people are clamoring to express their profound sympathies and claiming high moral ground AFTER the tragedy! Where have you closeted bigots been PRIOR?

Islam is the religion of intolerance for some factions of it. They seek undefended places to spread fear and panic. Our progressive President and his political allies promote extended gun control to make more Americans targets for Islamic terrorists in America.

Gee, just substitute "Christianity" for "Islam" in your statements and we have a philosophy about this country's radical right. . . . . . . . maybe you just need some reality training . . . . . . . . you must be right . . . . we should all be carrying AR-15s in public - can't be safe enough (from all those murdering Christians - after all, who murdered more in the U.S. last year, Christians or Muslims) . . . . a man's got to be able to defend himself . . . . . . I'm sure that all that AR-15 open carry will all work out just fine . . . . . . delusional and quite . . . . PATHETIC . . . .

"Gee"...You ARE pathetic, Frank!

I'm sure it is well intended, but this is an odd column. Not really the time to talk about whether diversity is good or bad -- 50 very young people were just killed, a like number wounded, many more bereaved and terrified. Time to stand with all Americans, and come together to look at everything that would help, in a practical manner.

Not all "very young people", nevertheless, a tragedy

The Russians, ISIS, and our other various "international" foes just hope we keep up destroying each other from within. Nothing succeeds like bigotry, fear mongering, scapegoating, and ever more guns.

The Russians, ISIS, and our other various "international" foes just hope we keep up destroying each other from within. Nothing succeeds like bigotry, fear mongering, scapegoating, and ever more guns.

Nancy, nice touch, except that YOU are touched! LGBTQ are not the only people with targets on their backs! How about Blacks, Puerto Ricans, Jews, yes, even whites? Nobody has the market cornered for discrimination and until our gun laws have some sense added to them, we're all walking targets! GO TRUMP !!

Just released..the shooter was killed by the SWAT team when he came out of the wrong bathroom. I understand some of the victims need blood transfusions. "Good news?" is there are a two main groups of LGBT "community folks" in the area:" Rump Rangers" and "Butt Buddies".. The bad news is, they can't give blood. (Qur'an, 26:165-166) foretasted this happening 900 years ago. The Jews told this was going to happen (death) 2,000 years ago, Leviticus, 20;13. Certainly this is enough time to be made aware of the risk.

Hey Andy, let me take a wild guess. You're a Trump man, am I right?

i will probably vote for trump; however......andy's remark is tasteless and useless. i am a very conservative Christian; however again......i love people, ALL people whether i agree with them or not. and not just trump supporters can be tasteless jerks, right? the best thing to do, unless you just love an argument is to ignore statements like the one above, it's shameful.

You seem to be blaming Americans for the "hatred of Gays" which is taught by Islam. Please don't lump us together with that hate filled religion. Islam teaches hatred of Gays , and that is entirely to blame for what happened. Don't paint us with the same brush. Yes, Christianity teaches that homosexuality is wrong, but it also teaches us to love homosexuals. Maybe you see prejudice because you look for prejudice. . . . .we usually find what we are looking for.

Love homosexuals..you may want to re-read Romans 1:23-27. or even Leviticus 20;13.

andy, you have forgotten one of the foundational Kingdom principles.....hate SIN, LOVE the sinner......LOVE the sinner. isn't that what Jesus did? but He sure did rip new ones on the "religious" who thought they were better than everyone, didn't He? he didn't tell us to condemn the world, He told us to spread the gospel, the good news, that the Kingdom of God had come. to be salt and light is NOT to bash those who may walk in darkness, but to show them Christ's love. everyone has a chance of redemption right up to the last breath, that's what the parable of the vineyard owner is talking about. don't drive the lost FROM the kingdom, be the salt and light that points the way.

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nancy smith
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