After the Orlando terrorist attack, LGBT individuals have taken a greater interest in self-defense and continue a decades-long tradition of protecting the community against violent bigotry.
Organizations that promote Second Amendment rights for LGBT Americans have been around for more than a decade. And gay Americans have carried firearms to protect themselves for decades, according to The Washington Post. As a minority group, it’s been an effective deterrent against those who would otherwise harm them.
One of those organizations, Pink Pistols, filed an amicus brief in 2008 during the District of Columbia v. Heller case that expanded the recognition of an individual right to gun ownership, calling it “literally a matter of life or death for members of the LGBT community,” David Kopel noted.
Debate surrounding guns in America tends to center on crime and mass shootings, or the extent of how effective ownership can be for self-defense. What gets overlooked is how American law has treated the Second Amendment as an individual right, and how that’s benefited minorities. Rights are supposed to apply equally; that’s crucial for minority groups to have legal recourse to harm, but even more so to guarantee their safety.
“Hate crimes against LGBT people haven’t dissipated since the arrival of marriage equality and have in fact been on the rise in recent years,” Michelangelo Signorile wrote, noting that bigots have launched “scores of attacks on LGBT spaces,” the Orlando terror attack included.
Transgender individuals suffer hundreds of attacks every year and tend to suffer disproportionately. Having access to legal firearms lets them protect themselves against some of those attacks while continuing an American tradition of exercising their rights.
“Fifteen years ago, Jonathan Rauch wrote that ‘Gay-bashing is a kind of low-level terrorism.’ Now, high-level terrorism has come to the United States, as it has to many other nations. Thus, the relationship between gay rights and gun rights appears likely to continue,” Kopel wrote.
Thanks to American tradition, LGBT individuals have been able to protect themselves in some instances from attack. Every LGBT organization doesn’t embrace gun rights, taking a liberal perspective that sees them as more threat than protection, but more LGBT individuals have armed themselves in anticipation of a worst-case scenario.