Statement from IP Chair Phil Fuehrer on Orlando Pulse Nightclub Tragedy
In the wake of the mass killings at the Pulse Nightclub, I would like to express my personal sorrow and sympathies as well as those of the MNIP. I would also like to recount a recent experience that reflects the ongoing hate behind this tragedy, others in the past, and, unfortunately but likely, additional ones in the future.
Less than 2 weeks ago I was with our CD 2 Candidate Paula Overby as she submitted her petition signatures and filled out paperwork to be on the ballot this fall. On one form the clerk noted that listing a home address was optional and that all the information filled out would be posted online. I was worried about having enough valid signatures. Something else entered Paula’s mind as she said something along the lines of “Good, I already have enough concerns about my safety, no need to make my home address even more public.” I found the comment odd and disconcerting. Even more so as she stated it so matter-of-factly that I suspected it was a sentiment with which she had become far too familiar. Paula’s experiences and the tragic incident, and needless death, in Orlando only reinforces the regular appearance of hate foisted upon those in the GLBTQ community. You see Paula Overby is transgender and the Pulse Nightclub was a noted “gay bar.”
Who someone kisses, how they seek out love, and what they wish to do in their intimate moments is of little, or no, concern to anyone else. Sadly, as we’ve seen in Orlando, intolerance, exists and can show itself in the worst possible ways.
I would recommend that those who feel so offended by the personal and private actions of others evaluate within themselves why they get so charged up over it and, more importantly, how it actually affects them (the answer is that it probably doesn’t in any way). I would also tell folks to follow what we’re all taught as children: if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.
Maybe then we can reach a society of tolerance and, dare I say, perhaps move on to mutual respect. We had not reached that point last night. And so, I, and the entire IP, offer our collective and individual condolences to the victims, their families and their friends and loved ones.