Cyprus Mail
Guest ColumnistOpinion

Love never fails. *

Accept-LGBT Cyprus’ Message for the Orlando Massacre

Yesterday we watched devastated the events in Orlando, USA, where 50 people of our community lost their lives and 53 others were injured, in the deadliest shooting attack of its kind in America and the worst terrorist act in the country following the 9/11 attacks in 2001.  We mourn the victims and our thoughts go out to their families and friends and we stand in solidarity next to global LGBTI community who are at the heart of a heinous crime.

Despite the significant steps that have been made in recent years, in many parts of the world, for greater equality and acceptance of the LGBTI, our community yesterday suffered a brutal beating that aimed to terrorise, to disorient, and damage any feeling of security that it previously managed to gain with great effort and blood.  Events like this one demonstrate emphatically, that we still have a long way to go until the elimination of prejudices or the actual social acceptance of the LGBTI.  Unfortunately, most people ignore, or turn a blind eye, to the fact that similar crimes continue to happen everywhere, even beside us in neighbouring countries, while in seven countries in the world, homosexuality is still punishable by death.

The events in Orlando demonstrate how our community is still faced with obsessions and ignorance and that loads more still need to be done to stop discrimination and prejudice.  In addition to the self-evident steps relating to laws and policies, the visibility of the LGBTI community is necessary to be widened, both through public large-scale actions such as Pride Marches, as well as through proper and objective visualisation of the LGBTI people by the media until everyone understands this simple message: we’re all different, but all equal.

It is sad that nowadays, crimes like this, many times attempt to derive their existence from religious hatred, which, however, more often than not, stems from the obsession of the perpetrators themselves and not by the actual teachings of any religion.  That’s why churches should immediately and collectively condemn any such acts of violence, whether these affect them directly or any other religion, removing in this way from any potential criminal any room to find alibis within religious interpretations.  It is for this reason, that the collective attitude of the churches is extremely important for the weakening of the polarization that exists for religion that puts faithful believers in front of non-existent dilemmas between their love for God and the acceptance of an LGBTI person.

Accept-LGBT Cyprus sends out a message of love for our fellow human beings and a message of respect for human rights and diversity.  It sends a message of solidarity to the LGBTI community declaring that fear will not find a place in our hearts and that united we will continue to fight against hatred and violence regardless where they originate from.  We, the LGBTI community, will continue to fight for the rights of all of us, until there are no exceptions any more.

Accept – LGBT Cyprus

*Saint Paul, First Letter to the Corinthians (Chapter 13)

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