Last week, Minnesota Student Association president-elect Abeer Syedah’s Twitter account went from being a thoughtful forum for her ideas to a virtual wall of hatred.
After Syedah tweeted about the Orlando massacre, asking her followers to self-reflect on violent queerphobia, she received hundreds of angry replies from Twitter users spewing hateful, racially charged slurs and vulgar sexual innuendos.
The online melee began after a conservative blog, Hypeline, reposted Syedah’s tweet and subsequent Facebook post with the headline, “Student body president blames white people and Trump for Orlando Muslim attacker.”
While the headline mistakenly claims that Syedah “blames” white people and Trump for the Orlando shooting, it’s clear that Hypeline’s readers and Twitter followers blithely misread Syedah’s statuses the same way.
In reaction to Syedah’s words, which implored fellow colleagues to carefully consider the U.S.’s rampant xenophobia, bigotry and queerphobia; and to promote inclusivity during Pride Month and Ramadan, one Twitter user identified as “Whiteman” called Syedah a “rag head cunt.”
It’s abominable that some find it necessary to respond to a productive dialogue on the state of America’s LGBT community with such corrosive language and hatred. When reached for comment, Syedah responded by saying, “Being complacent in hate is easier than putting energy into changing ourselves and our communities for the better.”
Though some are too naive to understand endemic anti-LGBT rhetoric in the U.S., we ought to vanquish hate with boundless love, solidarity and the celebration of our varied identities.