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Digital Subscriptions > DIVA Magazine > August 2016 > AFTER RLANDO



I woke up to the news from Orlando on Sunday 12 June and posted the BBC’s Breaking News about the attack at the American LGBT nightclub, Pulse, straight away. At first there were 20 reported dead, then as the day progressed, 49 slain and 52 injured by Omar Mateen, who many now believe might have been a closeted gay man.

As the day wore on, I checked into Facebook. The reaction from a lot of people on my timeline, notably some of the heterosexual folk I usually think of as allies, was muted. What? No rainbow flag meme with We Are Orlando scrawled over it? Nope. The outbursts of solidarity could be counted on one hand. At first I thought I was the only one, that it was only my straight friends who were slow to respond.

Perhaps some were in shock, unable to conjure up words to convey their deep sadness. Perhaps they found it hard to believe that things are still so precarious for LGBT people and that perhaps, in some way, hetero sexual people are complicit in this because they don’t have to live with, and benefit from the prejudice we face daily?

Perhaps they were doing what we lesbian and bi women often have to do with our rage: keeping it under wraps because if we expressed it every time we experienced it, we would be told to “stop whinging” or “turn the record off”, by some in our own community as well as by the heterosexuals who think we’ve got things sorted now that we can walk down the aisle. What more do we want, after all?

I went back to mainstream news on Sunday evening. Sky News had invited Owen Jones, the prominent white left-wing gay writer, to take part in a discussion about Orlando with two white heterosexual TV presenters.

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About DIVA Magazine

Our August issue cover star is former Bake Off contestant Ruby Tandoh. Also in this issue: Brexit: how could leaving the EU affect lesbian and bi women? After Orlando: why the world needs to change Iconic lesbian poet speaks to DIVA about being an outsider Wentworth is back – we speak to your favourite inmates Edinburgh Festival: we select this year's best LGBT shows Eleanor Margolis asks what makes lesbian music sound so, um, lesbian? Berlin: lesbian historian Cyd Sturgess steps through sapphic time in the German culture capital Chitra Ramaswamy on her compelling new book about pregnancy Forget “gaydar” have you got “bi-fi”? Do social attitudes surveys about LGBT people tell us all we need to know? Plus all the very best in life, scene, books, film, music and TV.