This week in "of course that guy who hated gays was actually gay," we now have tons of (extremely depressing) evidence that the homicidal, jihadist-inspired homophobic terrorist Omar Mateen might have actually been gay.
First of all, it's important to note that while there's a lot of evidence that suggests what Mateen's motivations might have been, nobody knows exactly what was going on in Mateen's head. There is no doubt that the guy definitely had some weird dad issues going on, but only (a fair amount of) anecdotal evidence that a conflict between sexuality and religion played a role in his crimes. The evidence does make clear, however, that he was raised to be severely homophobic, and therefore if he was gay, he was trapped deeply in the closet.
Initially, Mateen’s father gave America a much different picture, claiming that his son was “very angry” after seeing two men kiss in Miami. As time went on, however, it became clear that erasing any hint that Mateen himself was gay would be a theme in this story.
Then, the Canadian press reported that married couple and Pulse employees Ty Smith and Chris Callen said they had seen Mateen getting drunk at Pulse for over three years, and that Mateen repeatedly had to be asked to leave due to drunkenness. Often when he was in this state, he would complain loudly about how his father was "really strict" and how he'd been made to get married (although presumably not forced to beat her, which he did).
Then, the Palm Beach Post reported that as a student, Mateen had asked out one of his gay classmates, and they hung out at multiple gay nightclubs together. Per the post:
He said Mateen asked him out romantically.
“We went to a few gay bars with him, and I was not out at the time, so I declined his offer,” he said.
He believed Mateen was gay, but not open about it. Mateen was awkward, and for a while the classmate and the rest in the group of friends felt sorry for him.
“He just wanted to fit in and no one liked him,” he said. “He was always socially awkward.”
Then, Chris Hayes reported that Mateen had been messaging men on several gay dating apps.
Apparently, he had been asking what the gay clubs were good to go to, but he had already been going to clubs, so what was he really doing on Jack'd?
On top of all of this, there was new testimony from Mateen's ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, who had earlier revealed that Mateen had been "unstable" and "abusive." Yusuify has since moved to Brazil with her new boyfriend, and the two of them agreed to an interview on Brazilian TV.
Speaking for her in Protuguese, Sitora's new boyfriend said she had described Mateen as having “gay tendencies.” He also said she spoke of several occasions when his dad had called him gay in front of her.
It's dangerous to draw conclusions about whether being a closeted homosexual raised in a super-homophobic setting could cause a man to commit an atrocity like this, but it is also dangerous to not consider it. In a bid to take what we know and use it to move forward, here is what GLAAD has to say about these speculations.