Orlando’s openly lesbian city commissioner, Patty Sheehan, a formidable long-time activist for LGBT equality, has been in the national spotlight for the past two weeks fighting to make sure the media didn’t take the focus off of the victims of the mass-shooting at the Pulse nightclub in her city: largely LGBT Latinx in a popular queer nightspot.
In an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress, she said she’s angry that many GOP politicians wouldn’t even say the words “LGBT” or “gay,” and were thereby attempting to straightwash the targets of the attack. She also has a message for those GOP politicians who both have voted against LGBT rights and voted against gun safety measures, yet expressed sympathy for the victims.
“Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida, walked on our blood-stained streets with people from the Hispanic community,” Sheehan observed of Rubio, who has beena vocal opponent of LGBT rights and even promised if elected president to try to overturn the Supreme Court’s historic marriage equality ruling. “And he went right back to Washington – one of the few times he actually showed up for work – and voted against sensible gun legislation.”
‘If this doesn’t change your heart?” she continued, not needing to finish the rhetorical question. “There were people from [Rubio’s] office – it was [a staffer’s] hair stylist who got shot and killed. This was a personal connection people from his office had with these young people. And he still couldn’t find it in his heart to do the right thing.”
Florida’s GOP governor, Rick Scott, like Rubio, has also opposed LGBT rights and even as recently as earlier this year signed anti-LGBT legislation.
“My governor couldn’t say the word ‘gay’ — until he was called out on it,” Sheehan commented, then broadened her critique to other Republicans. “And I’ve called a lot of them out on it. I said, ‘How dare you come here to my city – our city – and stand in front of the microphone and take up space….You loaded those bullets with hatred, as far as I’m concerned.’”