Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/6/2016 (1479 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ORLANDO, Fla. - Some gays and lesbians appear determined to wriggle free of Donald Trump's embrace as he suddenly throws his arms around their community as an election issue.
Their discomfort was evident during a recent vigil for victims of Orlando's massacre.
A sea of people produced some of the loudest applause in response to clear digs against the presumptive Republican nominee. Speakers made veiled references to his new pro-gay, anti-Muslim message.
Trump promises to keep Muslims out of the U.S. in order to protect homosexuals. It was a central theme of his counter-terror speech in the wake of the U.S.'s worst gun massacre. He even started using the preferred LGBT acronym for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people he'd defend.
Some people here, apparently, don't want this being done on their behalf.
"Let us all be very clear tonight," said Chad Griffin, who worked at the Clinton White House and now leads the country's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil-rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign.
"To those who seek to divide us, LGBTQ people are Muslims and Jews. We are black, white and Latino. An attack on any one of us is an attack against every single one of us."
That drew a huge cheer from the thousands gathered for a candlelight vigil Monday night in downtown Orlando. There was a similar message from vigil organizer Carlos Guillermo Smith, who works with Equality Florida and is running for a state congressional seat as a Democrat.
He said his fight was against all phobias: Homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and Islamophobia. The crowd cheered especially loudly at the last one.
One regular patron of the Pulse nightclub, where 49 people were gunned down in cold blood and countless others were injured early Sunday, refused to slur the gunman's religion.
"I can't blame what he did on all the Muslims," Chris Callen said.
"It ain't their fault."
As a matter of fact, Callen said he believes Omar Mateen might have adopted religion as a convenient cloak, to hide his true self: "I think it was more of a cover." He'd seen Mateen multiple times at the club over a period of several years, often with a male friend and sometimes so drunk he had to be escorted out.
The one-dimensional portrait of Mateen as a bloodthirsty religious zealot is getting cloudy. Several news reports have revealed acquaintances' previous suspicions Mateen was either mentally unstable, violent, or a self-loathing homosexual.
Two old school friends have described Mateen going years ago to different drag bars, with one anonymously telling the Palm Beach Post that Mateen was gay and had asked him out.
Yet in the midst of his rampage, Mateen allegedly pledged allegiance to the leader of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other extremist groups.
Trump has responded with a message that's rare in American politics, but far more common from European populist right-wing parties: that Islamism is a threat to homosexuals and must be stopped.
"Ask yourself who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community — Donald Trump with actions or Hillary Clinton with her words?" Trump said.
"Clinton wants to allow radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country. They enslave women, and they murder gays. I don't want them in our country."
Polls actually show Muslim-Americans close to the U.S. mainstream on gay-rights issues. A Pew study two years ago shows 42 per cent support same-sex marriage — lower than Buddhists, Jews and Catholics but higher than Protestants, evangelicals and Jehovah's Witnesses.
The current holder of the office to which Trump aspires took him to task Tuesday.
A frustrated President Barack Obama bemoaned Trump's belligerent language against Muslims. He suggested his rivals' main contribution to the discussion on terrorism has heretofore consisted of saying the words "radical Islam" as often as possible.
"That's the key, they tell us. We cannot beat ISIL unless we call them radical Islamists," Obama said.
"What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to try to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this?
"The answer is none of the above... There is no magic to the phrase 'radical Islam.' It is a political talking point. It is not a strategy."
Without mentioning Trump by name, he referred derisively to politicians who tweet and appear on cable news shows without offering any real ideas, just talking points.
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