Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16



VIEWS In the aftermath of Orlando: Beyond ISIS
Jessica Stern

This article shared 372 times since Wed Jun 22, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

"Let us show the world that we are not afraid, we will not hide, and we will not stand down."

( New York )—OutRight Action International is shocked and saddened by the deadly massacre at Latin Night at Pulse nightclub on June 12 in Orlando, Florida. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the 49 people whose lives were taken and the more than 50 people injured. These events were not only a tragedy for the LGBTIQ community in Orlando but for all humanity. Our way forward must emphasize community building from a global perspective.

Some commentators have questioned whether the location of the attack—a gay nightclub—is relevant to our understanding of recent events. Omar Mateen's decision to attack a gay nightclub, a safe place for LGBTIQ people to gather, timed during the Pride celebrations of June cannot be extricated from the motivations and consequences of the attack. More LGBTIQ people were killed at Pulse than in any other known LGBTIQ bias-motivated attack in U.S. history. Clearly, this was an act of hate and violence against LGBTIQ persons, our freedom of assembly and our fundamental dignity.

The attack at Pulse nightclub is about more than ISIS, including the on-going violence experienced by LGBTIQ people in the United States, and lack of gun safety. However, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the massacre, so we must examine ISIS' conduct, put it in perspective, and consider it within the context of the threat of U.S. military response.

The line between ISIS fighter and sympathizer is, at best, blurry and possibly irrelevant. Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, and ISIS subsequently claimed responsibility. ISIS' semi-official news agency, Amaq, claimed responsibility for the deaths, posting in English and Arabic, "The attack that targeted a nightclub for homosexuals in Orlando, Florida and that left more than 100 dead and wounded was carried out by an Islamic State fighter." Al-bayan Radio, a station owned and operated by ISIS, broadcasted, "One of the Caliphate's soldiers in America carried out a security invasion where he was able to enter a crusader gathering at a nightclub for homosexuals in Orlando, Florida ... where he killed and injured more than a hundred of them." Similar announcements were reposted by ISIS affiliates and sympathizers, including the Haq website which regularly posts ISIS reports and photography.

ISIS: An undeniable record of terror against LGBTI people

Since December 2014, OutRight has documented more than 41 men accused of sodomy and killed by ISIS, according to ISIS' own accounts. Prior to the deaths in Orlando, the highest number of men killed at one time by ISIS for sodomy, or a related charge, was four in July 2015 in Fallujah Province.

Little is known about the men who were killed, including whether they ever engaged in homosexual acts or personally identified as gay; ISIS does not provide substantiating information or charge victims in a court of law. OutRight has observed that ISIS typically claims quick public responsibility for these killings, using social media as a central component in its campaign of terror. These acts of violence by ISIS exist on a continuum with its targeting of many vulnerable groups. ( To bring this to wider attention, in August 2015, we spoke before an Arria formula meeting of the UN Security Council, calling attention to the situation of LGBTI people in ISIS controlled territories. )

The coming days and weeks will bring mourning, information and debate as we try to make sense of the most widespread loss of life in the U.S. since 9/11. During this time, we send our deepest sympathies, strength, and support to the families of those who lost their loved ones and to those injured during the attacks.

We caution against drawing harmful conclusions about Muslims from the recent attack. Conflating the actions of one person with the beliefs of an entire religion, or ISIS with Islam, is dangerous. OutRight stands in solidarity with Muslims everywhere. We refuse to allow the LGBTIQ community's tragedy to be used to pit minorities against each other. LGBTIQ people, Muslims, LGBTIQ Muslims, and our allies—must support one another and stand strong against bigotry and violence.

In the United States, there is much work to be done

We must enact gun control and meaningful gun safety. The killings in Orlando were made possible by inadequate policies on gun control and gun safety. More than 32,000 Americans are shot to death every year—a higher rate than any other developed nation. Omar Mateen bought his weapons legally.

We must recognize that LGBTIQ people are not the only group targeted by ISIS. ISIS has systematically attacked women and girls, Christians, Turkmanis, Kurds, and Yazidis. Anyone who violates ISIS' fundamentalist notions of gender and sexuality or is deemed "inappropriate" is targeted in its apocalyptic worldview.

We cannot compromise the human rights of LGBTIQ people. The tragic loss of life in Orlando must not be used to justify military action. The safety and security of LGBTIQ people in Iraq and Syria, within and beyond ISIS control, must be central in our response. Regional backlash and escalation of violence against those perceived as not conforming to traditional notions of gender and sexuality is a real danger.

The U.S. government should investigate the application of the principles of universal jurisdiction to hold ISIS accountable if command responsibility is established in the case of Orlando. Due process should in all instances be upheld.

On a continuum of violence

At OutRight, we understand the devastating attack in Orlando in the context of violence targeting LGBTIQ people in the United States. While the scale of this massacre is unprecedented, violent crimes against the LGBTIQ community in the United States are not. In 2015 alone, more than 21 transgender individuals were murdered in the United States, most of whom were trans women of color. The Latino community in Orlando was on the frontlines of the attack at Pulse. Through holistic law, policy and programming, aimed to promote non-discrimination and access to education, healthcare, and employment, we can put an end to these unacceptable levels of violence.

The tragedy of Orlando is a call to action: it underscores with heart-breaking clarity the need for a globalized understanding of current events and the place of LGBTI people in the global community. For those who thought that ISIS would only impact their lives in Iraq or Syria, we are with you. For those in Brussels and Paris who experienced violence at the hands of ISIS, we are with you. For those in the United States who are newly members of this unwanted club, we are with you. It is time to channel our sorrow and anger into the best response: strong community-building. With LGBTIQ people, Muslims, LGBTIQ Muslims and our allies globally, we must seek a peaceful and holistic strategy focused on community well-being to move us forward.

As we enter into this new era, I urge all—friends and allies—reclaim this Pride month! Show the world that we are not afraid, we will not hide, and we will not stand down. And to our friends who we have lost, may you always rest in power.

OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.

Jessica Stern is the executive director of OutRight.

This article shared 372 times since Wed Jun 22, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

VIEWS Another 'Handmaid's Tale,' or sex and the supreme Catholics 2022-05-24
- Amy Vivian Coney Barrett was confirmed as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 26, 2020. Barrett is only the fifth woman ever to serve on the Court. She is also the sixth Catholic ...

Gay News

'LGBTQ Rights on the Line: The Role of Communicators Advocating for Equality' event preview 2022-05-22
-- From a press release - Celebrating, honoring and acknowledging Pride Month is more important this year than ever (and it should be celebrated all year, not just during one month). The expected Supreme Court ruling that will undermine the right to ...

Gay News

VIEWS Dignity/Chicago celebrates 50 years of ministry 2022-05-06
- It was 1972 and it was dangerous to be gay or lesbian. One could be arrested, publicly humiliated or fired from one's job. Even finding safety in the emerging bar scene was hazardous. Added to that ...

Gay News

VIEWS Biden, Democrats must end Title 42 now 2022-04-26
- The Biden Administration should honor its commitment to immediately end Title 42 restrictions which were imposed by former President Donald Trump, to deny asylum seekers their basic, protected rights. It would be a mistake for Democrats ...

Gay News

VIEWS The closing of civil society: Russia and the U.S., or fear the queer! 2022-04-23
- Putin's invasion of Ukraine has made manifest the fragility of civil society in Russia and the strength of civil society in Ukraine. It has also once again focused an intense spotlight on our own civil society. ...

Gay News

LETTERS A difference in opinion about Vatican document 2022-04-07
- I am responding to DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burks, who issued a press release that Windy City Times published. A newly released document from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education could trigger a new wave of ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Mixed reactions to Will Smith's slap 2022-04-05
- By now, everyone has seen or heard about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a tasteless and misogynistic joke about his wife's short hair resembling Demi Moore's buzzcut in the 1997 movie ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT On A Scale of 1 to 10: Sex, Religion, Power, Politics--A Public Meditation 2022-04-03
- QUESTION: "On a scale of one to 10, how faithful would you say you are, in terms of religion?"—U.S Sen. Lindsey Graham (R), South Carolina RESPONSE: "… there's no religious test in the Constitution under Article ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT For Elise, I promise to advocate to ban the trans/gay panic defense 2022-03-29
- Elise is dead. We don't yet know how or why. But Elise is dead, and my heart is breaking. Trans activist Elise Malary was an inspiration for me. She was the driving force behind the legislation ...

Gay News

VIEWS Putin's war and anti-queer Christian nationalism 2022-03-15
- —'Don't Say Gay' bill clears Florida Senate awaiting signature of Governor Ron De Santis (March 08, 2022). —Texas attorney general Ken Paxton issues legal opinion classifying gender-affirming medical care for ...

Gay News

VIEWS Bannon, the Catholic vote and our democracy 2022-02-20
- "I don't want anybody to take their eye off the ball for what we do every day... We're taking down the Biden regime." Stephen K. Bannon speaking to reporters as he turned himself over to federal ...

Gay News

Social commentator Fran Lebowitz at Auditorium Theatre April 15 2022-02-16
- Social commentator, satirist and author Fran Lebowitz will be at Chicago's Auditorium Theater, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr., on Friday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. Lebowitz essays and interviews offer her acerbic views on current ...

Gay News

LETTER Love is the road to healing 2022-02-15
- I am writing this letter to the editor in response to the press release that was printed in the present online issue of Windy City Times. The press release ("Program for LGBTQ people/families pushed by Archdiocese ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT: FDA must lift discriminatory blood-donor policy 2022-01-26
- With the nation's blood supply at its lowest point in a decade, and the American Red Cross declaring its first-ever national blood crisis earlier this month, it is time for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Who is my neighbor? 2022-01-20
- The notion of functioning as a Good Samaritan is one that transcends any particular faith tradition. The idea of humans treating humans in a humane way sounds so simple, yet history and modernity are replete with ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.