An open letter condemning violence and hate against LGBTs

At the end of LGBT Pride Month, a look back at the month's events, the Pulse shooting, and why we must continue to fight.

Nobody should live in fear.

Nobody should have to experience the horrific violence that unfolded in the early hours of June 12 inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

It should not have happened.

It should never happen.

Yet here we are.

No human deserves to die in a bloodbath of hate and terror and helplessness just to be blamed for it because of their sexual identity. No first responder deserves to step over corpses while hearing cellphones ceaselessly ring as family and friends desperately try to reach their loved ones.

No police chief should ever have to stand in front of victims’ families and tell them what happened was the deadliest mass shooting and the deadliest LGBTQ-targeted attack in our nation’s history.

During Pride Month events — and any other day of the year — too many people say, “Gays shouldn’t flaunt their sexuality,” or they should “keep it behind closed doors.”

That early Sunday morning in Orlando, they were behind closed doors.

And they were slaughtered.

While the assault is a hate crime and a domestic terror attack, blaming an entire religion for any hate-fueled aggression is wrong. It also is dangerous and hypocritical. Hate is never OK.

Oklahoma’s hate crime laws have no protections for gender identity or sexual orientation, despite both being included in the federal hate crime definition.

Last month, Jose Vega said he was verbally and physically assaulted at a midtown Tulsa store. A man yelled racist and homophobic slurs at Vega even as he exited the store and walked to his car “because he was wearing a gay pride T-shirt,” according to He was spit on and punched.

“The entire time he came toward me he had his hand in his front area under his shirt and in his pants. So automatically I thought, ‘He has a gun,’” Vega said.

In 2013, Jim Roth, one of the state’s first openly gay politicians, was physically assaulted by three men outside of an Oklahoma City bar after being publicly degraded with anti-gay insults.

In 2012, an Oklahoma City man watched his car explode after it was vandalized during a nighttime attack. His shirt melted to his body and he was treated for first- and second-degree burns, reported The word “fag” was spray-painted on the trunk of his car.

No human should inflict homophopic or transphobic hate — not slurs, not discrimination, not intimidation, not threats, not anti-LGBT legislation, not assault, not battery and not murder. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, intersex, transgender and queer people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among those are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Just like everyone else.


The Gayly, Oklahoma Gazette, NonDoc, The Frontier, The Oklahoma Daily, The Tulsa Voice

The Gayly – June 30, 2016 @ 12:20 p.m.