Orlando killings must not be used to demonise

AS people who self-identify as being from the LGBT+ community, it’s almost impossible to put into words the sadness that we feel for the predominantly Latin-American victims of the Orlando shooting, their grieving families and loved ones.

It’s a tragedy that we are still living in a world where people face violence and even death simply on the basis of who they choose to love.

Of course, systemic hatred of whole communities of people goes beyond homophobia, and let’s not forget this was a racialised community; a club night headlined by black Latina drag queens.

In the wake of this atrocity, it has been additionally distressing to see various far-right commentators attempt to equate the killings with Islam, and in doing so fan the flames of Islamophobia.

We want to emphasise that this is not happening in any way in solidarity with the LGBT+ community, and wholeheartedly reject any attempts to use the Orlando killings as a tool to demonise entire communities on the basis of the actions of one individual.

Violent, fatal attacks on people from sexual minorities have been perpetuated by people from across all religions and cultures.

To associate such violence as being inherent to Islam is not only insulting to the vast majority of people of Islamic faith who would deplore such violence, it’s also detracting much-needed attention from the real policies and legislation that are needed to ensure that the LGBT+ community are safe from such violence.

Melissa Céspedes del Sur, The London Latinxs

Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Executive Director of UK Black Pride

Tamsila Tauqir - Co-founder of the Inclusive Mosque Initiative

Dervla Zeynab Shannahan - Co-founder of the Inclusive Mosque Initiative

Denis Fernando, Rainbow Coalition Against Racism

Hannah Berry, LGBT Foundation, Manchester

Ian Iqbal Rashid (writer/director of Touch of Pink)

Rainbow Noir - A Social & Peer Support Group For LGBTQI People Of Colour

Jac Bastian, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants

Femi Otitoju, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant

Dr Felicity Daly, Executive Director, Kaleidoscope Trust, UK

Stella Duffy, theatremaker and writer

Adam Smith, Welsh Green Pride spokesperson

Mhairi Black MP, Paisley and Renfrewshire South

Patrick Harvie, Green Party MSP

Kezia Dugdale, Leader of the Scottish Labour Party

Sabrina Qureshi, founder of Million Women Rise Movement

Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now

Clare Solomon, National People's Assembly Against Austerity

Kevin Smith, activist

Sondhya Gupta, SumOfUs

Jack Gilbert, CEO Rainbow Hamlets

Aaron Kiely, Unite London & Eastern LGBT Committee

Cllr Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, London Borough of Newham

Alessandro Commisso, #14 LGBT Future Leader 2015 (Financial Times)

Elaine Gallagher, co-convenor of the Rainbow Greens

Anna Crow, co-convenor of the Rainbow Greens

Nim Ralph, associated with QTIPOC London

Ben Collins, ReShape

Mel Evans, author

Louise C C Ryan, Artist

Lucy Ellinson, Actor

Hilary Aked, PhD candidate University of Bath

James Hillard, Horse Meat Disco

Professor Ignacio Romero, Open University

Dr Monica Moreno Figueroa, Lecturer, University of Cambridge

Rudy Loewe, illustrator

James O’Nions, Red Pepper magazine

Steph Pike, Manchester People's Assembly Against Austerity

Lerato Kathi (Lakuti), DJ

Kerstin Egert (Tama Sumo), DJ

Raisa Kabir, artist

Patrick Cash, writer'

Kat Hobbs, No Pride in War

Nim Ralph, associated with QTIPOC London

Jac Bastian, Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants

James O’Nions, Red Pepper magazine

Susy Langsdale, LGBTQ youth worker at Project Indigo

David Waldock, Technical Project Leader

Colin Wilson, No To Pinkwashing

Sue Caldwell, LGBT+ Against Islamophobia

Debbie Symons, Associate Lecturer The Open University

Rowan Davis, NUS Women's Campaign Trans Place (elect)

Fernando Mariano, actor Royal Opera House and ACT UP activist

Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett - Chair of the Independent (Community Advisory Board) CAB for Pride in London, Chair LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

Simon Edge, journalist

Catherine Hall, writer

Maryam Amjad, Chayn

Monica Santomartino, Chayn

Charlotte Seeley-Musgrave, Chayn

Mona Chammas, Chayn,

Seerat Fatima, Chayn

Philippe Cahill, Senior First Officer, British Airways

Michael Segalov, journalist

Shannon Stephens, Friends of the Earth, Scotland

Ludovic Foster, academic and artist

Kate Davison, PhD candidate and sessional tutor in History, University of Melbourne

Dr Hettie Malcomson, Associate Professor, University of Southampton

Ash Kotak, writer

Jo Tyabji, performer/director

Sanaz Raji, Activist, Justice4Sanaz & #UnisResistBorderControls

Dr Rebecca L. Jones, The Open University.

Beth Metcalf, Open University Students Association

Nirmal Sandhu, publishing

Dr Helen Bowes-Catton, lecturer, Open University

Vanessa Lee Butz, Managing Director Interchange

Mika Minio-Paluello, Platform

Rhian Chapman, Postgraduate Research Student, The Open University

Marcus Morgan, chair of The Bisexual Index

Roy C. Adkin, Post Graduate Research Student, The Open University

Dr Rohit K Dasgupta, Lecturer in Global Media, University of Southampton

Jane Wilson, University Administrator, the Open University

Dr Sue Westwood, Research Officer, Oxford University

Louise Hazan, campaigner, 350.org.

Dr Mel Bunce, City University London

Dan Glass, ACT UP London

Dr Marian Messih, general parctitioner

Eduardo Frias, PHD student, Open University

Hannah Chutzpah, Writer/Performer & Activist

Jen O’Leary, queer feminist activist

Jill Wilkens, Teacher and Research Student

Geoff Hardy and Peter Roscoe

Stuart B. Cameron , founder Sticks & Stones

Professor Julie Fish, Director, Centre for LGBT Research, De Montfort University

Dr Alberica Bazzoni, Lecturer Oxford University

Dr Paul Simpson, lecturer, Edge Hill University

Dr Alison Rooke, Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Dr. Kathryn Clark, postdoctoral researcher, the University of Pennsylvania

Zoé Vincent-Mistiaen, PhD candidate, The Francis Crick Institute

J. Daniel Luther, Doctoral Researcher (SOAS, University of London), Organising Committee 'Queer' Asia 2016

Graham R Coult, Writer, Information Governance Advisor

Dr. Thomas Hilder, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bergen

Stephen Pelton, choreographer

Symon Hill, bisexual Christian author".

Jane Traies, University of Sussex.

Dr Chloe Alaghband-Zadeh, Research Fellow, University of Cambridge

Libby Baxter-Williams, editor, This Is Biscuit

Helen Gao, Oxford University

Anna Carlqvist, Oxford University

Sal Campbell

Dr Bob Cant

Yas Necati

Lou Dear, LGBT Unity

Elena Silvestrini, Chayn

Asiem Sanyal, Imperial College London

Emma Frankland, None of Us is Yet a Robot

Jo Clifford, playwright and performer

Hannah Dee author of The Red in the Rainbow

Tam Dean Burn, actor

Patrick Morselli

Mary Bond

Fred Langridge

Regine Hampel, Professor, The Open University

Nicholas Coomber

Susanna Gibson

Kyle Lee-Crossett, PhD student, UCL

Kelly Minio-Paluello, LGBT Health and Wellbeing

THE appalling destruction of innocent human life in Florida has shocked Scotland and indeed the world. What ought not to be done, however, is to apply motives to the killer, Omar Mateen. The more extreme elements in the US press are putting the tragedy down to “imperialist homophobia” and our own incorrigible Willie Rennie is suggesting all could be sorted out by altering the social agenda in Scottish schools.

Willie really ought to stick to the things he is really good at, such as sliding down weans’ slides in fairgrounds.

The Palm Beach Post reported that Mateen was in a closet homosexual who was acting out of deeply-felt personal grievance rather than from psychopathic homophobia. Jumping to conclusions will do nothing for the memory of the innocent dead or for their loved ones in particular.
Alan Clayton
Westfield, Strachur

IT appears that you cannot have any discussion about the EU referendum without the subject of immigration raising its ugly head. On one hand we are being told that we are better, that we are being held back by the rest of Europe, that we are “greater” than them and their pesky foreign ways. On the other that they come here steal our jobs, houses and hospital beds. If we cannot cope with the competitive threat of immigrants in our own country then how can we be expect to go out into the world and better them in their own lands.

The reason that this country is in the state that we now find it is because that is how the ruling class wish it to be – the lower class kept in check by poor pay and conditions, a middle class kept in check by the debts of mortgages, credit cards and tuition fees, and the elite too busy finding absurd ways of spending their money. Why is nothing done about it? Because, as we can now all see, the lunatics are running the asylum and the last thing they want is for us to open our eyes and see through their xenophobic propaganda and notice what is actually happening. They are creaming off the wealth of this nation for themselves and leaving us to fight over the poorly paid zero hour contract jobs that are the true blight of the mighty Blighty.
Neil Morison
Kyle of Lochalsh

ECONOMIC migration is not new. It has happened for generations, before there was any benefit system.We had the Irish in the 19th century, Italians, Polish and many more in the 20th century. They worked for less than the locals! It’s common sense. If today you can earn £7 per hour here and only £2 per hour at home, many of us would do the same in their shoes.

If the current so-called migrant crisis is due to the differential in wages between European states why not introduce a minimum wage across the EU? The EU talks about a “level playing field” and that one measure would go a long way towards that goal. The need to migrate would be hugely reduced. People would still move around EU for education, culture, holidays and interesting job prospects. I haven’t heard either trade unions or government advocating this policy. I would love to hear their views.
Catherine Gilchrist

LEADING the cliff-top charge for a swift Brexit (and keenly observed by a power-fuelled Putin) we have Barmy Boris, Goggle-eyed Gove, Dim-witted Duncan-Smith and Fascist-Farage – a Rogues Gallery to set alarm-bells ringing!
James Stevenson

WITH a drop in GPs by around 100 and those that remain facing, in the words of the BMA’s Dr Alan McDevitt, “an increasingly unmanageable workload”, it’s going to take a more serious prescription than a Scottish Government injection of £2 million to solve. It’s ironic that many who look after our health often suffer from terrible work-related stress.We need to support young doctors to build practices where the wellbeing of staff is not an added extra but an example to us all.
Cathy Palmer

YESTERDAY’S editorial in The Herald said about GPs that: “those outside the medical profession struggle to work out why doctors seem so reluctant to enter and stay in general practice.” It would be interesting to examine the numbers of students who apply to enter medicine and those who are accepted. I have met and heard of many young people with excellent qualifications who have been turned down. The only conclusion I can draw from talking to would-be students and working doctors is that this there is not enough money allocated to train doctors or/and the BMA is continuing to be elitist.
Jessma Carter
Lindores, Fife

'Don't use Orlando shootings to demonise Islamic communities', say prominent LGBTI Scots