What the Orlando Massacre Means to an Openly Gay Musician

Ed Roste of Grizzly Bear on the Orlando Massacre
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Ed Roste of Grizzly Bear on the Orlando Massacre
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Ed Roste of Grizzly Bear (photo from CMJ, 2013)

As Americans try to make sense of the deadliest shooting in US history, musicians are also piecing together what the Orlando massacre means for them.  The attacks in Paris started in La Bataclan, with Islamic extremists targeting the Western values and freedoms embodied by the musical scene around Eagles of Death Metal.  But now, gay musicians have extra cause for concern, as homosexuality may be an intensified target of gruesome, religiously-fueled hate crimes. In fact, the Orlando massacre is the single largest attack ever against the LGBT community.

This morning, Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear, who has been openly gay from the start and a major source of inspiration to gay and lesbian fans, offered this statement on his Facebook account.

“More and more as I get older I forget and perhaps willfully dismiss how insanely lucky and privileged I was to grow up in a very supportive family and school system in so many ways but especially in regards to my homosexuality. The fact that I can count on one hand where I’ve been verbally gay bashed is a blessing compared to most.

When I started the band there were a lot of questions about how to address my sexuality. I said put it in the first bio and let it be. Despite taking longer than most to come out perhaps just because I wasn’t comfortable in my skin, by age 24 when we were getting ready to release Horn of Plenty I was comfortable enough to be proudly out in the music community.

Initially I never thought much about that decision because nobody was coming to our shows. However, as we grew young teens would approach me at the merch table, sometimes trembling and crying, thanking me for simply being openly gay and in the indie rock world. As these instances increased, the importance of being loud and proud and caring to the community hit me harder and harder. I would receive DMs on all social media platforms from scared people in the LGBTQ community asking my advice. As best I could I would try to help, but knowing not everyone is as lucky as I was, simply saying “don’t worry, come out you’ll be fine” seemed often like reckless and dangerous advice.

Today is a reminder that we all can still feel rightfully scared and angry but let us try our hardest to reach out to one another and provide support and love, especially to those that need it most and are living in unsafe or unsupportive communities. These vulnerable LGBTQ people need as many messages of success, love and support as they can get in order for them to ever fully feel comfortable celebrating their innate greatness.

There have been many times I’ve felt lesser than within the gay community.  Now is not one of them.  Now we are all the same and all mourning. My love goes out to everyone in Orlando but everyone world wide who has to struggle just to be gay. There are multiple countries where being gay is served with a quick government sanctioned death penalty. We must remember these millions too. Even when I think we have it lucky here a horrific tragedy like this happens and is a sobering reminder how much further we have to go.

It would be tone-deaf in the same post not to address the disgusting gun problem the US has.  How many people year after year need to be slaughtered to enact tough gun laws? Children, Planned Parenthood workers, Movie watchers, Office workers…..nobody is safe from this violence because we as a nation encourage it with our gun laws. This has to and MUST stop. We are at a serious risk of being completely desensitized to this in a few years, and with every lessening response, we are losing our humanity.

I’ve never marched in a pride parade but if I get the opportunity to this month, or next year I will….and as soon as I see any of them, I will hug all of my LGBTQ friends as hard as possible. Right now I’m on the top of a mountain making music sad as one ever could be. Stay strong and safe. ❤️?❤️?❤️?❤️”


30 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Can’t we just conclude that a) guns need to be banned (from reality, that is; not from fiction and shows like Hamilton), and b) kids need to learn as early as possible that Big Religion — Christianity as well as Islam — is even more deadly than guns.

    • milli

      Why does Judaism always get a pass? Do you see how non-Jews are viewed and treated in Israel or the Orthodox community (by far the most rapidly growing segment of the faith) in Europe and North America?

      • Anonymous

        “Why does Judaism always get a pass?”

        Because more often than not, it’s the (obvious) victim, not the villain.

        You can easily find injustice, racism and fundamentalistic bigots everywhere — and I’m certainly not a fan of Zionism or Israel’s behaviour in the Middle East (though its situation is far from easy) — but you can’t link to any major war or act of terror committed in the name of Judaism.

    • PiratesWinLOL

      a) No way. That doesn’t work. The terrorists will have guns even though they are restricted, and making them illegal, will just make the victims defenseless like in Paris. If anything, more guns in the hands of the good guys is the answer. b) Islam is deadly, but Christianity really isn’t. It is unfair to Christians to claim that they are committing anything close to the crime and violence against homosexuals, that the Muslims are behind. Try to walk around with a t-shirt which says “hey, hey I am totally Gay” in first a few Christian countries and then a few Muslim ones. Eventhough you won’t be able to get back to me with the result, you will yourself notice quite a difference.

      • Anonymous

        “Islam is deadly, but Christianity really isn’t”

        So you’re not only a worthless pirate, you’re also plain stupid.

        • max

          Nope he’s exactly right. Islam is an eastern religion having little in common with western values. Yes you can find violence in any religion but the concepts of infidels, martyrdom, jihad, sharia law, the joining of church and state are all central to Islam. False equivalence with Christianity might make you feel better but it’s jut not accurate. Islam is much more dangerous

          • Anonymous

            “Islam is an eastern religion”

            …while Christianity actually was created in New York.

            “Islam is much more dangerous”
            Seriously dude, you need to visit your nearest library…

          • PiratesWinLOL


            “Seriously dude, you need to visit your nearest library…”

            If I want a book, I pirate it 🙂 Also, who cares about what happend 200 years ago? It is done, finished and it ain’t coming back. Another difference is that mainstream Islam demands an earthly punishment for homosexual acts, while Christianity doesn’t. The point of view among the primary islamic schools of jurisprudence it is either to be punished as zina (death for the married person, 100 lashes for the unmarried) or even more severe than zina (always the death penalty) with the Shafi’i holding that opinion. Only Abu Hanifa was of the opinion, that it is to be punished somewhat less harsh than zina. Consequently, many islamic countries has really harsh laws, including often the death penalty for homosexual acts. Mainstream Christianity, such as the Catholic Church is of the opinion that there should be no earthly punishment for homosexual acts. Also the Christian religion has the seperation of Church and state build into it, while Islam certainly doesn’t. The catechism of the Catholic Church says this about homosexuals: “….They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives….” Try to find anything like that from the major voices of islam. It isn’t happening. All the reports of the sahabah also agree that homosexuals should indeed be killed.

      • HeyHey

        @WorthlessPiratesLoseLOL : The killer wasn’t even really religious, but he was known to be violent and unstable. Just because he claimed to act in the name of a cause ( the ISIS/Daech thugs hiding behind a religion) doesn’t make “Islam deadly” , no more than white supremacists killing or lynching blacks in the name of aryan purity makes all whites guilty by default.
        Italian mafiosos wear crosses, are very respectful of the pope , go to church on sunday morning ,and then in the evening go break the bones of store owners who refuse to pay for “protection”… Yet no one would put all christians in the same bag…

        I’m really no fan of religion and antiquated beliefs, and humanity would be better of without it, but most average christian, jews and muslims are just regular folks trying to make a living.

        • HeyHey

          And the real question is : how could that guy just walk in a store and buy a war weapon ?

          • PiratesWinLOL

            The reason for people being allowed to carry guns, is that free people are allowed to defend themselves against criminals, terrorists and ultimately an abusive state. Also, criminals and terrorists will always have guns. They don’t care about the law. Just look at what happend in France. More good guys with guns would have made the situation less horrible.

        • PiratesWinLOL

          Obviously he was very religious and also supported the Islamic State. It is not a coincidence that he has strong connections to islamic activists and was screaming “allahu akbar” while killing those poor gay people. Also, when was the last time non-Muslims commited such a massacre against people because of their sexual preference? In the Muslim countries thousands of gay people are getting slaughtered, sometimes even in organized campaigns like in Iraq a couple of years ago. It doesn’t happend in countries, outside the influence of Islam, no matter how much you wish that reality isn’t what it is. As mentioned, try to wear a t-shirt that says “I am gay and I don’t believe in God” in an islamic country. You will be slaughtered. In Italy the mafia won’t kill you for that. They don’t care. The same is the case in the United States. You can live as a free person and do and believe pretty much what ever you want to.

    • Donn Newport

      Guns need to be banned? I once saw a movie where only the military and the police had guns. It was called Schindler’s List. If you hate guns so much, move to countries where gun ownership is effectively banned, like England, where they have a violent crime rate much higher than the US.

      Some of you are equating Christianity with Islam? Fuck off. There is no comparison. Islam teaches to kill homosexuals. Islam teaches to beat women. Islam teaches to mutilate the genitalia of little girls and have sex with little boys. Islam teaches to kill those from other religions. Pick up a fucking history book about Islamic crimes around the world and read it. Read about the persecution of Hindus in India by Islamists for a thousand years. Were you taught that in school? I bet you weren’t.

      Are you going to bend over and vote for Crooked Hillary, who will let in even more America-hating, gay-hating, women-hating, alcohol-hating, freedom-hating nutjobs from other countries and their demon spawn like the recent mass murderer in Orlando? I bet you will because you’re so fucking stupid.

      • Anonymous

        “If you hate guns so much, move to countries where gun ownership is effectively banned, like England, where they have a violent crime rate much higher than the US.”

        Homicide rate:
        United Kingdom: 1.0
        United States: 3.8

        SOURCE: Wikipedia

        “Some of you are equating Christianity with Islam? Fuck off. There is no comparison. Islam teaches to kill homosexuals”

        If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death
        SOURCE: The Bible, Leviticus, Chapter 20, verse 13.

        “Crooked Hillary”
        Lol, a genuine Trump supporter — why didn’t you say so… 🙂

        • PiratesWinLOL

          Anonymous: I suggest you read what Thomas Aquinas has to say about this issue. Fact is that Christians are not bound by the ceremonial and juridical parts of the old testament, that you quote from. The old covenant has been replaced by a new and claiming that the old one is still valid is a rejection of Jesus as Christ and consequently a mortal sin for a Christian. Muslims on the other hand is certainly still bound by the Quran and the Sunnah of Muhammad.

          • The previous Anonymous

            “The old covenant has been replaced by a new and claiming that the old one is still valid is a rejection of Jesus as Christ and consequently a mortal sin for a Christian”

            Yeah, you’re a nut job alright.

          • PiratesWinLOL

            I am accurately describing the mainstream Christian position on this issue. That you are unable to understand what I am writing, doesn’t make me a nutcase. Fact is that you are just a rude copynazi, who in this case certainly don’t know what you are talking about 🙂 It is almost as funny, as your dreams about ending piracy, while CD and MP3 sales are crashing, and Daniel Ek is laughing. It is wonderful. You should try being on a winning team some day.

      • HeyHey

        @Donn Newport : “There is no comparison. Islam teaches to kill homosexuals. Islam teaches to beat women. Islam teaches to mutilate the genitalia of little girls and have sex with little boys. Islam teaches to kill those from other religions”

        LOL. I defy you to post a quote from the Koran saying that. Go ahead. I’m waiting.

        • PiratesWinLOL

          Enough with the waiting, here we go.

          Killing those from other religions:

          Surah At-Tawbah 5: “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, an seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful”

          Beating the wife:

          Surah An-Nisa 34: “…As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them… ”

          Killing homosexuals:

          This is from the sunnah of Muhammad, but that is just as valid when not directly contradicting the Quran.

          Abu Dawud (4462): “The Prophet (ﷺ) said: If you find anyone doing as Lot’s people did, kill the one who does it, and the one to whom it is done.”

          • HeyHey

            @PirateLoser : You would be more honest if you didn’t take things out of context . First that was in a time of war when the people of mecca were persecuted by the “polytheists”, thus :

            “And give tidings to those who disbelieve of a painful punishment.Excepted are those with whom you made a treaty among the polytheists and then they have not been deficient toward you in anything or supported anyone against you; so complete for them their treaty until their term [has ended]. Indeed, Allah loves the righteous [who fear Him].
            And if any one of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah . Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.”

            “And if they break their oaths after their (peace) treaty and defame your religion, then fight the leaders of disbelief, for indeed, there are no oaths [sacred] to them; [fight them that] they might cease.”
            From Surat At-Tawbah

            and Polytheists is not equal to “other religions”. This might come as a shock to you , but Jesus, Abraham and the virgin Mary are included in muslim prayers ( and therefore christians and jews) ! They are considered “people of the book”..

            “[Jesus said], “And indeed, Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him. That is a straight path.”

            “And mention in the Book [the story of] Abraham. Indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet.”

            “And mention in the Book, Moses. Indeed, he was chosen, and he was a messenger and a prophet.”

            Surat 19:36

  2. HeyHey

    Here is some more shocking stuff to you :

    “[And mention] when the angels said, “O Mary, indeed Allah gives you good tidings of a word from Him, whose name will be the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary – distinguished in this world and the Hereafter and among those brought near [to Allah ].”
    “And He will teach him writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel”

    “Say, “We have believed in Allah and in what was revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, and the Descendants, and in what was given to Moses and Jesus and to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims [submitting] to Him.””

    Surat ALI ‘IMRAN 3:45

    Yes… That sounds like a call to kill people from other religions all right…

    I could go on and on, but I don’t want to keep you from torrenting naked pictures of Daniel Ek.

    • HeyHey

      In fact , there are even warnings about being too “excessive” and radical in religion..!
      “O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. ”
      Surat An-Nisa 4:71

      Now that said, it is true that the Koran has its fair share of violent stuff, but no more than the Bible or the Talmud. I could cite pages and pages of horrifying stuff from the other two books. That’s my point. People read what they want to read in them…

    • PiratesWinLOL

      Islam offers the Christians status as dhimmis, and they are not to be killed if they with the Qurans words (9:29), “pay the jizyah with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.”

      Ibn Kathir explained this verse as follows, and in its proper context, in his famous and extremely popular tafsir:

      “Muslims are not allowed to honor the people of Dhimmah or elevate them above Muslims, for they are miserable, disgraced and humiliated. Muslim recorded from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet said, (Do not initiate the Salam to the Jews and Christians, and if you meet any of them in a road, force them to its narrowest alley.) This is why the Leader of the faithful `Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, demanded his well-known conditions be met by the Christians, these conditions that ensured their continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace. “

      • HeyHey

        “Ibn Kathir explained this verse as follows, and in its proper context, in his famous and extremely popular tafsir:”

        Yeah , so what ? So some dude named “Ibn Kathir” says some crazy stuff, and that makes it automatically true and practiced and believed by all muslims ? Plenty of christian and jewish priests/whatever around the world say all sorts of demented stuff… KKK christians priest says you should kill all blacks. Should you ?

  3. PiratesWinLOL

    This is what Surah At-Tawbah 5 means, as explained by Ibn Kathir using the proper sources of making tafsir:

    ” These Ayat allowed fighting people unless, and until, they embrace Islam and implement its rulings and obligations.”


    Secondly, Muslims are not allowed to pray for infidels, except prayers asking that they may become Muslims. It is also haram for a Muslim to take Christians and Jews for friends, as clearly stated in the Quran.


    • HeyHey

      @PiratesAreDumb : You keep citing interpretations made by individuals as universal truth being practiced by millions of people., and you probably never travelled outside your mom’s cave to believe such hilarious things as “It is also haram for a Muslim to take Christians and Jews for friends”. You give the “I don’t wanna be an american idiot” a whole new meaning…

      So tell me, do you rape children ? Lots of catholic priests do, so it is certainly practiced by millions of christians , right ? Do you daily kill gays as advised in the Bible and the Talmud ? And by the way, did Jesus tell you it’s ok to pirate ? 🙂
      (ignorant )Christian extremist and pirate.. interesting combination…

      • Anonymous

        I am no Christian. I am an agnostic. Also, why don’t you interpret, what Allah means when he says, Al-Ma’idah 51:

        “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews And the Christians For your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors To each other. And he Amongst you that turns to them (For friendship) is of them. Verily God guideth not A people unjust.”

        Regarding child rape, when is a child a child? Was Aisha a child at 9, when Muhammad as a 53 year old man started having sexual relations with her?
        Christians including the catholic church condemn these abusive people. When will the Muslims condems Muhammad equally, for his sexual abuse of a child?

        • HeyHey

          ” am no Christian. I am an agnostic. Also, why don’t you interpret, what Allah means when he says, Al-Ma’idah 51:

          Again, what’s your point ? Why are you so desperately trying to imply that Islam is the only religion to contain violence ?
          Why don’t you interpret this :

          “When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you— 2 and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, THEN YOU MUST DESTROY THEM TOTALLY.[a] Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. ”
          Deuteronomy 7

          This is a Zero-sum game. For every violent quote in one religion, I can give you 2 other violent quotes in other religions. We can play this stupid game all day.

          • HeyHey

            Need some more ?

            “Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘GO AND COMPLETELY DESTROY THOSE WICKED PEOPLE, THE AMALEKITES; WAGE WAR AGAINST THEM UNTIL YOU HAVE WIPED THEM OUT.’ 19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”
            20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.””

            “Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 NOW GO, ATTACK THE AMALEKITES AND TOTALLY DESTROY[A] ALL THAT BELONGS TO THEM. DO NOT SPARE THEM; PUT TO DEATH MEN AND WOMEN, CHILDREN AND INFANTS, CATTLE and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”
            Samuel 15

            Have a nice day.

  4. PiratesWinLOL

    “Now that said, it is true that the Koran has its fair share of violent stuff, but no more than the Bible or the Talmud. I could cite pages and pages of horrifying stuff from the other two books. ”

    Christians dont accept the ceremonial and juridical parts of the old testament as valid today, as they have been replaced by the new covenant. Also, they believe that you should know a false prophet on his fruits. The fruits of Islam are truly rotten and evil.

    “People read what they want to read in them…”

    Making tafsir based on your own opinion is prohibited.