It feels like your skin has been pulled off your body. With a single crack. From the soles of the feet to the skull. As if there was no longer any protective layer. As if everything were bare and sore. Delivered to whatever may come. This pain about one’s own defenselessness is perhaps the bitterest besides the grief that has moved in since the Orlando massacre and that will no longer go away. If there is one thing that people who look different, love differently or desire differently than the normative majority, if lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, intersexual or queer people have something in common, then it is the experience of vulnerability.
As always unique and singular as individuals, what connects queer people collectively is not least this feeling of vulnerability: still being looked at with condescending looks when we walk hand in hand or kiss each other on the street, still with swear words to be considered and threatened in the school yard or in the subway or on the net, to still have to fight against laws that categorize or criminalize us as “sick”, to still have to justify why we may not be the same, but still It is equally important why we love and encourage children, like other families, to still run the risk of being attacked and beaten up in broad daylight or at night. “Gay places are haunted again and again by the history of this violence”, writes the French philosopher Didier Eribon in his most recent book “Return to Reims” https://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/. “Every avenue, every park bench, everyone A hidden corner carries the past, present and future of such attacks. ” All because there is this hatred for the way we love or live. Because there is this hatred of our happiness that we don’t want to be ashamed of. Nothing has changed about that just because some of us can become mayors or environment ministers or pop stars.
Clubs like the “Pulse” were places where you didn’t have to be afraid
That’s why clubs like Pulse in Orlando are not just clubs. They are places where nobody needs to be afraid. They are places where everyone can feel right – and above all, safe. It’s the hours and nights in clubs like Pulse when you can breathe a sigh of relief, when it finally feels free and carefree because there is nothing special than who or how we want to love. Here everyone can be what they want to be and with whom: all fantasies, all bodies, every skin color, every age, every belief can be shown here. The differences that usually count, outside or on paper, are not relevant in these places. For the Latinos and Latinas who met in Orlando at Pulse last weekend for the “Latino Night”, what is discussed elsewhere did not matter: whether they speak English or Spanish, whether they have American documents or not, whether it is Donald Trump gives a presidential candidate who wants to build a wall on the border between Mexico and the United States.
The Orlando assassin not only killed 49 people and injured 53 that night, he not only took away loved ones, children and parents from relatives. Rather, with his murderous act he also met this trust, that in places like these he was finally lifted, that he was finally safe from exclusion and violence. This skin, which promised some protection, is torn. Below is sheer horror – and of course the defiant and courageous rebellion against one’s own fear.
The motive of the mass murderer is clear: hatred of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, intersexuals – and everything that is marked as different. Whether this hatred was still seeking legitimation for violence in the jihadist ideology of IS or whether the hatred was enough in itself – that primarily plays a role for those who want to instrumentalize this crime for their political goals. It is a familiar and tasteless spectacle how homosexuals are mainly perceived and defended as people with rights when they let themselves be used as pawns in the hostile campaign against Muslims. Then all of a sudden gays and lesbians are declared figureheads for the open and tolerant society – which otherwise still refuses that homosexual couples are allowed to adopt children because some “gut feeling” opposes it. It is not surprising that the IS jubilantly ascribes the Orlando massacre to itself when you consider the inhuman brutality with which they torture and execute queer people in their area. Whether the IS really commissioned the attack or even had a connection to the murderer seems to be questionable, after all that is known. But that is no longer even necessary for the strategy of the IS mafia.
Even if the Orlando assassination attempt was carried out by a single perpetrator, he was not a single perpetrator. Because hatred or self-hatred is not individual. Both need ideological templates in which he pours himself out. If it is true that the murderer was a regular guest at Pulse before, if it is true that he had at least homoerotic tendencies, then the hatred is probably also combined with the shame. However, the idea that someone should be ashamed just because he or she loves and desires differently than a religious or ideological canon dictates, is something that nobody develops alone. Shame is passed on in families, in Muslim or Evangelical or Catholic communities, it is written down in school books and in laws. Responsibility for an attack like the Orlando one cannot be delegated to terrorist networks or individual criminal or pathological perpetrators. That would be too easy. The honest, self-critical argument about the terrible effects of the prescribed shame must begin in the families, in the schools, in the religious institutions and in the parliaments.
“The anger discharges on those who stand out without protection,” says Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno in the “Dialectic of Enlightenment”, and so the societies that really want to be open must not become accomplices of pseudo-religious fanatics want to finally extend the legal protection that human rights and the Basic Law promise to include lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people. Not legally almost the same, we want to be the same.