Just days after a gay nightclub in Orlando was attacked in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, 124 National LGBT Centers released a letter openly disavowing hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric and responses to the tragedy. It's clear — and heartening — that the activists, community leaders and outspoken members of the community aren't messing around with their mobilizing efforts. Moreover, it made me realize how much I wish politicians, especially presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, would follow their lead.
Despite Trump's efforts to use the horrific attack as justification for his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim proposals, the open letter clearly states that those sentiments will not — and should not — be expressed in the name of the Orlando victims or the LGBT community. Instead, the demands of the community are far more consistent with a compassionate sort of activism, calling for an end to bigoted speech and a greater action to pass common sense gun control legislation:
We as the community of LGBT centers denounce any attempts to scapegoat the Muslim community. As with LGBT people, Muslims have experienced hate based violence, stereotyping, and bigotry. We stand with our Muslim friends and allies in calling for an end to this intolerance. We appreciate the outpouring of support from Muslim leaders and are working hard to support the many LGBT Muslims struggling to heal from this tragedy.
We as the community of LGBT centers call for our communities, our allies, and our friends to demand action to hold our elected officials accountable for passing laws that limit access to assault weapons. We must make a decision about whether we want to be a country that is content with mass shootings becoming commonplace. LGBT people will always be at risk as long as bigots have easy access to assault weapons.
We as the community of LGBT centers demand that politicians and religious leaders stop spewing their hateful rhetoric and justifying their words with ignorance or religious verse. Your words cause harm. We will not stand by quietly when you whisper, shout, or legislate your hate. In response you will hear our shouts of condemnation for your actions, and our shouts of love and support for our LGBT family.
On Monday, Trump said in a speech, "Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community. Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words?" On Tuesday, Trump said on Twitter that he "will fight" for the LGBT community. However, to me, his proof that he will be a friend and fighter for the LGBT community seems to only be his dangerous, anti-Muslim stance.
Ultimately, I'd be all kinds of shocked if Donald Trump could truly win over the LGBT community. What these LGBT leaders will do, however, is set an example for the country that everyone — especially Trump — should take note of: love, solidarity, acceptance, and a willingness to mobilize to assist those who are hurting are far more powerful and more important than fear.