The Orlando shooting massacre has shook the nation to its core and brought an unprecedented amount of attention to the levels of violent attacks the LGBT community is vulnerable to in our country. And while people around the nation mourn the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, out actor Wilson Cruz recently spoke about the shooting and explained that the shooting was not only an attack on the LGBT community in general, but specifically the Latin LGBT community.
According to media reports, Cruz lost a relative in the shooting when Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, was tragically discovered to be one of the many victims of Omar Mateen’s horrific attack. McCool was a 49-year-old mother and two-time cancer survivor. Her mother married Cruz’s grandfather. McCool is survived by 11 children, including a son who was at Pulse with her but survived the shooting.
According to media reports, Cruz recently spoke about McCool and her death and explained how he’s heartbroken over what’s happened to his family and the Latin LGBT community.
“It was their favorite place to go because it was where he could be the most himself and where she could see him be himself the most,” Cruz said. “They would go there because there was no other place that they felt they could go and enjoy the kind of music that they loved and commune with people in the same way. For me, what’s heartbreaking about this is that as a Latino LGBT community, we seek those places where we can be all of who we are. That night at Pulse afforded the Latino LGBT community to be with each other and to share their culture and each other and be openly who they are and to love who they love in that space.”
“She went there to be with her son so that he could be exactly who he is, without any fear, “ he said, audibly crying. “And yet he had to stand there and see this madman gun his mother down, and his friends. I don’t know how he’s going to survive that. I don’t know how anybody is, but I know that they will.”
Cruz also spoke about the fact that the shooting occurred on Pulse’s Latin night and how angry he is that many media outlets aren’t reporting that information. He explained that he believes the high number of Latin people who lost their lives that night is proof that the shooting was an attack on the Latin LGBT community.
“Now that many of the names have been released, I don’t see how anybody who can read that list of names can walk away from it and not know that this wasn’t just a terrorist attack on this nation or specifically on LGBT people,” Cruz said. “It was a direct attack on LGBT Latinos, predominantly, and the people who love that music and that culture and were there to celebrate it.”
He continued, “Not only is this a story about a minority group being attacked but it’s a minority within a minority that was attacked,” he said. “Naming those names and where they’re from and the struggle that they were living daily as LGBT Latinos is part of the story and not naming it, to me, feels like erasing a large part of who they are and their experience. Let’s not whitewash their experience, it’s multi-faceted.”
What do you think of Cruz’s thoughts? Let us know in the comments.