Statement in Response to the Attack on Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida

Content warning: violence, death, homophobia, and transphobia

Early Sunday morning, June 12th 2016, a gunman murdered 49 people and injured scores of others at Pulse Nightclub, a gay nightclub in Orlando Florida. This attack was the single deadliest occurrence of violence against LGBTQ people in the history of the United States, the largest shooting, the largest mass shooting committed by a single gunman in United States history, and the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since September 11th 2001.

The attack occurred during an event that was dedicated to the Latin community, meaning that the victims were predominantly queer people of colour. The targeting of queer people of colour is sadly nothing new. Roughly 80% of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes are committed against people of colour; 60% of all LGBTQ homicide victims are Black, 55% of all LGBTQ homicide victims are trans women, and of those victims, 50% are trans women of colour.

Then, almost before given the time to contemplate the horrific toll of the Orlando attack, our own campus was put under threat by reports of an armed individual on Monday morning. Thankfully, that report turned out to be a false alarm, and after diligent work by both Campus and Metro Toronto Police to ensure it was safe our community was reopened.

Although we evaded a potential tragedy, we cannot forget that these incidents are anything but isolated. The hegemonic ideology that breeds this kind of violence is one that undeniably permeates into our culture. The mechanisms of patriarchal power not only affects women and trans folks, but is also what leads men that are insecure about their lack of (“deserved”) control to manifest their feelings into destruction.

We must continue to work together to build and sustain a community that not only accepts diversity, but celebrates the inherent beauty in different subjectivities. Marginalized folks should be able to celebrate their identities without fear of their lives being stripped away.

Finally, whether the Orlando shooting was premeditated by homophobia, mental illness, religious extremism, protest—or all of the above– what allowed the perpetrator to kill so many individuals at once was his gun.

No individual, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, should have access to that kind of destructive power. Not on campus, not at a club, not in a workplace, not anywhere.

We, the Arts and Science Students’ Union, will always stand in solidarity with queer people of colour and those affected by gun violence,  and we send our love and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the victims that lost their lives in this senseless act of terror.

 

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old

Cory James Connell, 21 years old

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old

Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

Rest in Power.

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