LGBT activists shut down the “horrible and racist thought process” linking Sunday’s Orlando mass shooting to Islam yesterday as thousands assembled to honour the victims.
British gay rights campaigners were left saddened and angry as mainstream media showed more interest in shooter Omar Mateen’s religious interests than his lethal homophobia.
Vigils for the dead and injured of the Pulse Club shooting took place worldwide last night, as London’s gay village overflowed with mourners.
Words of solidarity were also issued yesterday by the British trade unions and the Labour Party, whose shadow equalities minister Kate Green argued for more security measures during next week’s Pride celebrations.
GMB LGBT network Shout! organiser David Braniff-Herbert told the Star the media’s insistence on the Orlando shooter’s religion was due to their “agenda for Islamophobia.”
He said: “If they can talk the homophobia down they get to speak more on the religious background of the shooter.
“And that has really very little to do with it. Everyone wants to talk about the Isis links, it makes absolutely no difference.
“If you look at how the Christian right have introduced 200 anti-LGBT+ laws across the US in just the past six months, you see it’s not about how some very few Muslims think about LGBT people, it’s about a systemic homophobic, biphobic and transphobic system and it’s intolerable.”
Mr Braniff-Herbert then retold how just over two years ago he and his partner were attacked by a group of young men in a popular London area.
“When we published that story the response from some people was ‘Oh well this is what happens when you have open immigration,’ but all the boys were white and English,” he added.
“The presumption was that it couldn’t possibly be done by white people. This is a very horrible and racist thought process.
“The anti-LGBT rhetoric is not exclusive to one group of people.
“What we need to express is that an Islamophobic response is just as bad as a homophobic response to hate crime.”
Earlier in the day, journalist Owen Jones had walked out of Sky News after presenter Mark Longhurst and radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer attempted to distance the tragedy from homophobic hate crime.
Trade Union Congress LGBT committee chair Maria Exall also told the Star there was “homophobia denial” going on.
“Owen Jones should be supported on insisting that it was a hate crime against LGBT people and that’s what needs to be reported,” she said.
“It’s a hate crime for whatever reason and it should be recognised for what it is.”
Britons also mourned for the Orlando victims in the cities of Manchester, Cardiff, Norwich and Nottingham, while a solidarity event will be taking place today in York at 7pm on St Helen’s Square.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.