Brandon Wolf was the first survivor from the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting to testify before Congress, where he called for gun reform so that event which left 49 people dead, including his best friend Drew, would not happen again.
He told The New Abnormal after hearing about the shooting last month at Club Q in Colorado Springs—another LGBT nightclub—he was not just heartbroken but furious. Wolf says anti-LGBT legislation like the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida has made his community a target yet again.
“We have a right to be angry because this is what we’ve been telling people would happen,” he said. “This is what we warned would be the inevitable consequences of this, I want to call it diabolical hysteria, that has been whipped up by the right wing in this country. We always told them that someone was going to pay the price for the words coming out of their mouths.”
Wolf said the only way to make right-wing politicians and sections of the media pay is to make them accountable.
“There is no world where we’re gonna talk the right wing off this ledge. There’s no world where we’re gonna talk politicians like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott into being more reasonable. They don’t care. Their only intent is to see themselves on Fox News more often, to be wannabe reality television stars trending on social media as frequently as possible, to raise boatloads of money, to amass more power, wealth, and fame. That is the ultimate goal,” he said. “The only way to stop them from trafficking in these age-old anti-LGBTQ tropes, the only way to stop them from putting LGBTQ people and other marginalized communities in harm’s way, is to make them face accountability for it.”
“They have to lose their jobs, they have to lose donors. They have to see their public perception fade. They have to see their names in a negative light. They’ve gotta see people like Tucker Carlson stop inviting them on his show. Tucker Carlson has to see advertisers flee the show so that he can no longer buy that third Rolls-Royce or go on that fourth vacation to Ibiza. These people need to face real accountability for the way in which they have created a toxic environment in our country. That is the only answer.”
Wolf, who made a promise to his best friend Drew at his funeral to fight for a world that his friend would be proud of, said the raft of anti-LGBT legislation across the country only solidifies his resolve.
“I knew in that moment that I may never see that world. That I may never see the fruits of my labor. That I may never see full equality in this country or around the globe, but I had to know that it was worth fighting for,” he said.