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Straight terrorism

It doesn’t matter if the murderer in Orlando was Jewish, Christian or Muslim — the same hate crimes keep targeting us, over and over again, across the world.

By Yael Marom and Ma’ayan Dak

Israeli youth mourn Shira Banki, who was murdered by an ultra-Orthodox man at the Jerusalem Pride Parade, August 2, 2015. The attacker, Yishai Schlissel, stabled six people. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Israeli youth mourn Shira Banki, who was murdered by an ultra-Orthodox man at the Jerusalem Pride Parade, August 2, 2015. The attacker, Yishai Schlissel, stabled six people. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

At least 50 people were killed and another 53 wounded early Sunday morning in a massacre at the “Pulse” club, a venue associated with the LGBTQ community in Orlando. The media spent the better part of Sunday trying to understand why it happened. But for many of us in the LGBTQ community, it was clear as could be: yet another hate crime in a wave of violence against LGBTQ people that has been going on for thousands of years — all over the world. “Straight terrorism” hits us everywhere we live.

In one year alone in just 25 countries there were 594 hate-related killings of LGBT people, the UN Human Rights Council reported last year. “The trans murder monitoring project, which collects reports of homicides of transgender people, lists 1,612 murders in 62 countries between 2008 and 2014,” The Guardian reported. That’s more than one transgender person murdered every two days.

Here are some names, just the tip of the iceberg: in 2008 a gang of men raped and murdered South African soccer player Eudy Simelane. The same year, Lawrence “Larry” King, a 15-year-old gay teen from California, was murdered at school by fellow students.

In May 2013, Mark Carson was murdered while walking down the street with his partner in New York. One month later, 18-year-old autistic gay teen Stephen Simpson was set on fire and murdered at his own birthday party. In August of that year Krill Kalugin was attacked in St. Petersburg for holding a pride flag. In April 2014, 25-year-old transgender woman Çağla Joker was murdered in Istanbul. This year, in April 2016, Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy, central activists in the Bangladeshi LGBTQ community, were murdered in Dhaka.

According to a report published by the Nir Katz Center Against LGBTphobia published ahead of pride month, 380 cases of LGBTphobia were reported in Israel — in the 10 months prior to the report’s publication. Nineteen percent of the reported cases dealt with physical harm, eight were cases of threats, 40 cases were of verbal assaults and humiliating treatment, and seven cases involved threats made over social networks. It is spine-tingling to cite data published by a center established following the horrendous Bar Noar murders in Tel Aviv, in which Nir Katz and Liz Troubishi were murdered, and for which the killer has still not been brought to justice.

We would imagine that there isn’t an LGBTQ person in Israel who doesn’t feel that the Bar Noar murder is still an open, stinging wound. We are all still trying to recover from the murder of Shira Banki at the Jerusalem pride parade last year. Clearly there is no gay man, lesbian, bi-, trans or queer person, and their friends and allies, who didn’t feel like they had also been shot today. Our sisters and brothers are murdered on a daily basis all over the world.

We’re not going to address the ethnic origin of the murderer in Orlando, or the question of ISIS or whether he visited radical Islamist websites before he decided to go and massacre a club full of LGBTQ people. It doesn’t matter exactly which religion made him hate us to death. Sometimes it’s Christianity, sometimes it’s radical Jewish extremists, sometimes it’s Islam. It’s always the fear of those who are different, those who challenge the existing order.

The Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance, dedicated to the memory of Shira Banki, will be held on July 21, 2016.

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew. Ma’ayan Dak is a queer activist.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Lewis from Afula

      Re: “It doesn’t matter if the murderer in Orlando was Jewish, Christian or Muslim”

      Except it does matter. IT WAS ISLAM DID IT. Not Hindu fundamentalists, Not Christian extremists, Not Buddhist fanatics, NOT hindu terrorists, NOT lunatics from Gush Emmunim. The root cause is SHARIA LAW.

      Only Trump can solve this problem. Not the Corrupt Clinton.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        No thanks. We don’t need an obvious psychopath and con artist in the White House. (And we’ve already had one total idiot in there (GWB) so another one would be tedious. Been there, done that.)

        “Only Trump can solve this problem.”

        When I see this kind of statement here I think it likely that the writer knows very well Trump would be a disaster from an American interest standpoint, and that Isis would like nothing better than having a foolish Trump-led America to goad and manipulate. As Noam Sheizaf remarked, Trump will “solve” Isis the same way Bush solved Iraq: by creating such horrible new disasters we’ll genuinely miss the old problem. It raises the serious question whether the writer then might like nothing better then to embroil the world in an idiotic, immensely destructive, all consuming misadventure, all the better to distract. To distract from Israel’s activities in the territories and make the occupation “about Islamist terror” instead of about human rights and about Palestinians? The schadenfreude is on full display and the Israeli propaganda organs predictably are working overtime to exploit a mass shooting and peddle the lie that “there is no difference between the shootings in Tel Aviv and Orlando.”

        Reply to Comment
      • Carmen

        Lewis: “IT WAS ISLAM DID IT. Not Hindu fundamentalists, Not Christian extremists, Not Buddhist fanatics, NOT hindu terrorists, NOT lunatics from Gush Emmunim. The root cause is SHARIA LAW.”

        Maybe you can back that up with some facts. That’s not as fun as ‘IT WAS ISLAM DID IT’ or ‘SHARIA LAW’ but it would prove you aren’t a robot.

        Only Trump will exacerbate any problem. Clinton is too busy worrying about the welfare of colonialists living on Palestinian land and starting a war with Iran than to care about the lives of gay and transgender people.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Mark

      Most victims of straight people are other straight people, not GLBT people.

      Just as there greatest number of victims of Islamic terrorism are other Muslims.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bored

      It was closeted self-hating homo terrorism. That’s the fucked up tragedy.

      Reply to Comment