In a world continuously fighting against hatred and prejudice, most would start to believe that racism, sexism and homophobia is dying out. However, the shooting at ‘Pulse’, the gay bar in Orlando, shows that homophobia still exists and is a dangerous prospect to our society.
Members of the LGBTQ+ community battle with everyday bigotry and comments from some members of the mainstream society that it wants to be integrated with, with mocking ‘jokes’ that seemed to be passed as the norm. But the community still fights for freedom and equality, through events like the ‘Pride Festival’ in London and by confronting those who disagree – despite the consequences.
The man who shot dead fifty people, with a further fifty-three injured (final numbers still to be confirmed), has been said to have been “angered” at seeing two men kissing whilst with his father. It saddens me to even conceive that this attack could have had the motive of a hate crime, towards a community full of enthusiastic and optimistic ideology with the core intention to create an equal society.
A storm of compassion and sympathy has exploded on social media with a trending hashtag “#LoveIsLove’. Simultaneously, however, an enormous call for a change in the gun laws of America has been demanded after the biggest shooting in recent US history.
Those in society who fight for equality are sometimes derogatorily labelled “social justice warriors”, perhaps because these people believe inequality does not exist or there is no point in fighting against it. However, those campaigning for equality are a necessity and I believe that the recent events in Orlando are a prime example for why. Hatred still exists. Whether it be against certain ethnicities, genders, religions or sexualities – people are still condemned, mocked, hurt and even killed.
With more social and political groups than ever fighting against inequality in society, we now need cohesion and unity more than ever. The caring responses to the LGBTQ+ community will not undo or compensate for the loss of many but it does show that no-one will stand for such repulsing views in society that will induce a man to kill. Inequality will exist for many years to come, but progression has and will continue to be made. It seems incredibly idealistic and, perhaps unrealistic to some, to imagine a world with no inequality or hatred, particularly when we have free speech. Nonetheless, groups promoting optimism, encouragement and compassion, supported by a political agenda of equality, will push boundaries that need to be pushed and will make incredibly positive changes across the world.
Everyone has the right to free speech, but no one deserves to be affected by prejudice, fear, hurt and hate crimes in a world striving for equality.
Words by Will Moore