In an act of violence directed against the LGBT community, a gunman named Omar Mateen killed 49 people at a gay nightclub called Pulse in Orlando, Florida, on June 12.
The Editorial Board condemns this horrific hate crime against the LGBT community.
Sunday’s shooting was the deadliest terrorist attack since Sept. 11, 2001, in the United States and the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.
Yet, many news outlets neglected to address this attack on the LGBT community for what it was: a hate crime.
On Sky News, for example, journalist Owen Jones left an on-air interview because he claimed one of the hosts was not seriously addressing how the LGBT community was targeted by Mateen’s actions.
Some companies did pay respect to the LGBT community. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation introduced a profile picture on Facebook of a rainbow pride flag and the words “We Are Orlando” in a gesture of support toward the victims and their families.
Others were quick to pinpoint Islam as the cause of the mass shooting and ignored the homophobia that was to blame for the attack.
According to Orlando Weekly, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi were both originally hesitant to address the LGBT community following the shooting.
In an interview on CNN, Anderson Cooper spoke with Bondi.
He pointed out that she had previously opposed same-sex marriage, a claim Bondi denied before attempting to change the subject.
Meanwhile Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump intensified his call for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. following the shooting. His insensitive tweets incited a disagreement from House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said he opposed the proposed ban on Muslims in the US.
The Editorial Board argues the lack of emphasis on homophobia that helped foster the attack on the Pulse nightclub must be countered by outlets covering the event and politicians who are responding to it.
It is only with work promoting acceptance of the LGBT community that future attacks on it can be avoided in the future.
It is when LGBT people can safely exist in American public life, without attempts on their livelihoods, that work to protect them can be finished.
Until that point comes, stronger protections for the LGBT community must be put into place to counter the violence that is often targeted at the community.
While federal hate crimes legislation exists, far too often acts of violence like the one seen in Orlando still occur in the lives of LGBT people.