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Mhairi Black: We can’t let people exploit Orlando to stir up hatred

Nick Duffy June 14, 2016
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Mhairi Black, the world’s youngest openly gay Member of Parliament, has warned against appropriation of the Orlando massacre.

At least 49 people were killed and 53 were injured in the shooting at the Pulse gay club in Orlando over the weekend. With more than a hundred now confirmed dead or injured, the shooting has become the worst in American history.

Vigils have been taking place across the world, with thousands of LGBT people and allies taking to the streets to show solidarity.

However, the political response from some fringe elements has been divisive: in the UK, the Leave.EU campaign claimed remaining in the EU would lead to ‘Orlando-style’ incidents in the UK, while in the US Donald Trump has claimed that a Hillary Clinton Presidency will lead to mass killings of gay people, while Senator Ted Cruz called for ‘political correctness’ to be abolished in wake of the attack.

PinkNews spoke to Mhairi Black MP, the youngest openly gay politician in world history, at the vigil in London.

Referring to the responses from Trump and Cruz, the Scottish National Party politician said: “Voltaire said ‘I may not like what you’re saying but I’ll defend your right to say it’… but I’ll also defend the right to tell you you’re talking nonsense.

“If you use horrific events like this to stir up hatred, then you’re are completely wrong.

“I think what we’ve seen today shows the level of solidarity amongst not even just the LGBT community – the number of straight people who are out here recognising how horrific this is. We must fight back.”

Referring to the decision of the Daily Mail newspaper not to feature the shooting on its front page, she said: “There’s an element of subtle homophobia that exists – I don’t think it’s necessarily deliberate, it’s a case where people still aren’t recognising how much homophobia still exists in society.

“They’re not appreciating the fact that kids are scared to talk to their parents about things. We still have children in turmoil, whether that be because a religious school teaches them we’re a moral evil – I think it’s still ripe within society, so I think it’s right we came here to carry on challenging it.”

Asked what the world should do to respond, she said: “This. If anybody was to come here who was still in the closet and see you’re not alone and you’re not weird, you’re perfectly normal.

“The people who are abusing you and slagging you off and whatever else – they’re the weird ones. When we can turn that into the norm, that’s when we’ll have achieved equality.”

Related topics: Equality, gya, LGBT, Mhairi Black, mp, Orlando, Orlando Massacre, scottish national party

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