The mass shooting in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in the US which saw massacre of 49 people has brought the world's focus on the well-being of a minority community called the LGBT in the world's largest democracy.
But the tragedy that occurred on June 12 is not something new the US has observed in its history. Data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said people belonging to the LGBT community were the most likely targets of hate crimes in the US, a New York Times report said.
In 2005, LGBTs were second most targeted people in US; in 2014, they are the most
In 2005, the Jewish community was the biggest target of hate crimes (per one million adults) while the LGBT community was ranked second. In 2014, the LGBT became the most targeted group, overtaking the Jewish people.
The Muslims, who were ranked as the fourth-most targeted people in 2005, became the third in 2014 while the Blacks went one position down from third to fourth.
American leaders can't even arrive at consensus on whether Orlando shooting was a hate crime or not
America's politicians are, however, divided over how to define the tragedy in Orlando. While US President Barack Obama called it an act of terror and hate, some Republicans did not agree to call it a hate crime. Some even avoided the mention of the word 'gay' while others said the shooting never happened in a gay club.
Among the common Americans, however, 57 per cent believe the shooting was both an act of terrorism and hate crime against the LGBTs, said an opinion poll.
There is more to it. Nearly a fifth of the 5,462 of what is called the single-bias hate crime reported to the FBI in the year 2014 happened because of the target's sexual orientation or their perceived orientation.
While the LGBT people are becoming more visible, they are being attacked more
One reason for the violence against the LGBT people might be over their acceptibility among people in general. Even as the world becomes more accommodating towards the LGBT people, some who are extremely opposed to them turns radical and even resort to violence to eliminate them so that they don't perceive a threat to their way of seeing things, say experts.
Even the attacked are mostly black, Hispanic and women
Other data make it more precarious. According to reports by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a big majority of the targeted LGBT people are black or Hispanic transgender people, particulary women. If Apartheid South Africa was about racist atrocities, the repeated attacks on the LGBT people speak about racism, sexism and transphobia and the more the rights of these people are getting asserted, the more they are becoming targets.
US should stop lecturing India on protecting its minorities; it also has similar problems
The US has lectured India on a number of occasions in recent times over the latter's human rights records, saying it has not taken enough care of its minorities and that the religious freedom on its soil is facing a threat. [US Senator warns India on intolerance ahead of PM Modi's visit]
We ask the US: To what extent have you been successful in protecting your LGBT people, who are equally a minority, from atrocity? Or by denying them a place in your leaders' political speeches, you are ensuring that the LGBTs don't exist at all? [When Barack Obama spoke on "intolenace" in India]
The American leaders should understand that although the age of their formal democracy is much older, but as a civilisation, India is much much older and it has a global reputation of surviving as the homeland of a huge diversity. If India is being suspected today to turn into a salad bowl from a melting pot under a majoritarian rule, the same fault lies with the US of today.
Hence, wisdom lies in not lecturing others but set one's own house in order.