NQAPIA Mourns Orlando Shooting Victims, Warns Against Islamophobic Rhetoric & Violence

For Immediate Release: Sunday, June 12, 2016
For More Information, Contact: Sasha W., 909-343-2219, sasha@nqapia.org

NQAPIA Mourns Orlando Shooting Victims, Warns Against Islamophobic Rhetoric

We are heartbroken. We send love to the countless people affected by the tragedy in Orlando.

At a time when we are proudly celebrating our LGBTQ identities and community, we woke this morning to the horrifying news that at least fifty queer and trans people, including many people of color, were killed in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. This is just one in a very long line of tragedies involving gun violence in the U.S. These shootings cannot be the new normal, and we must demand our lawmakers enact commonsense measures to end the bloodshed.

As we mourn the lives that were lost and hold our loved ones tighter, we are also questioning yet again what safety means to us.

From the Stonewall riots to the HIV crisis to police brutality, queer people have long lived in terror in the U.S., largely at the hands of the state. And now, as many of us who are Muslim or South Asian—or perceived as such—brace for a backlash that is already underway, we recommit to creating safety outside of that state, for all of our LGBTQ family.

We urge our community and allies to refrain from rhetoric that lays responsibility on any one community. The acts of an individual are not representative of any one ethnicity, race, or faith. With Islamophobia in our country growing to greater and more dangerous levels, it is ever more important to be intentional about what narratives we choose to lift up. Furthering such rhetoric will only lead to more policies that normalize surveillance of and violence against APIs and other communities of color. NQAPIA advocates firmly against policies that profile and instill fear in our communities, and that tear families apart. Just last month, we held a #RedefineSecurity Week of Action to denounce such policies.

For those of us who are LGBTQ and Muslim, we wait to see which of our identities we will be more fearful of disclosing in a world that questions our existence and intentions daily. We have found no contradiction in being both queer and Muslim, and reject the popular narrative that Islam or the Muslim community as a whole is homophobic and transphobic. We are proud to be both queer and Muslim, and cherish both of our communities. We encourage you to read this statement from our member organization the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity.

In the next few weeks, we must resist the inevitable, racist attempts to divide and conquer us. We ask that our allies refuse to use this moment to undermine the safety of people of color. We ask that people come together in this difficult time to heal, and that we intentionally create systems and spaces where all members of our community feel secure, safe, and able to be their full selves.

The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) is a nationwide federation of LGBT Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations. We seek to build the organizational capacity of local LGBT AAPI groups, develop leadership, and expand collaborations to better challenge homophobia and racism.

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