While not yet conclusive, evidence appears to be mounting that Omar Mateen, the Islamist terrorist responsible for the horrible tragedy in Orlando that left 49 dead and 53 injured, may have been motivated, at least in part, by homophobic tendencies.
While true homophobia is far rarer than commonly reported, studies suggest that some individuals who dislike and even hate homosexuality as a sexual inclination and at times homosexuals as people can be motivated by a genuine fear (phobia) of same-sex attraction, often due to their own suppressed homosexual tendencies.
Presently there are at least seven indications that Mateen may fall into this category:
- A member of his 2006 police academy class claims that 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,” the former classmate said. He has asked that his name not be used.
- The Los Angeles Times has reported that the shooter attended the Pulse nightclub possibly as many as a dozen times before the rampage. Reconnaissance for a planned act of terror? Perhaps. But Mateen’s reported instability coupled with the manner in which he executed the murders suggests that his act of terror was not that well-thought out and pre-planned. It is more likely that he went to the Pulse—and reportedly other gay clubs as well—for libidinous reasons.
- Kevin West, a regular at Pulse, said Mateen messaged him on and off for a year before the shooting using the gay chat and dating app Jack’d. (Like Grindr and other similar “gay-dating” apps, Jack’d uses social media and GPS satellite tracking to help individuals who often don’t know each other to quickly and conveniently “hook-up.” This can mean everything from a coffee and conversation to having sex. The pictures and descriptions users put in their profile would suggest the latter is the primary purpose.)
- Mateen was also described as socially awkward, a common characteristic of people who are conflicted about their sexual identity.
- His former wife has testified that he beat her. While she attributes his violent behavior to an undiagnosed bi-polar disorder, it is not uncommon for a man with same-sex tendencies and who perceives himself as stuck in an unsatisfying heterosexual relationship to then take the resultant frustration out on his opposite-sex partner via emotional, verbal and even physical abuse.
- Daniel Gilroy, a former co-worker at the security firm where the shooter was employed, called Mateen “unhinged and unstable,” a man who frequently made anti-gay and racist comments. Gilroy repeatedly complained to management about him, but they did nothing “because he was Muslim.” Gilroy quit after Mateen began stalking him via multiple text messages—20 to 30 a day. All of this fits the profile of a man who is deeply conflicted and possibly self-loathing because of his own unwanted homosexual impulses.
- Seddique Mateen, the shooter’s Islamic-fundamentalist father, recounted an incident that took place in Miami where Omar saw two men kissing in public and later in a bathroom and became “very angry.” Seddique attributed the reaction to a natural revulsion at an act that is viewed as morally wrong through the lens of their Islamic beliefs. But the intensity of his son’s response would be in keeping with a man who is over-compensating before a judgmental father as well as one troubled by self-doubt or loathing concerning his own sexual identity.
There appears to be little doubt that Omar Mateen was motivated to kill, at least in part, by his radical Islamic beliefs. These beliefs encouraged him to wage a Jihadist campaign against the enemy, with a special blessing if he was to do so during the “holy” month of Ramadan. The enemy in the Islamist lexicon is the “infidel,” with America—the Great Satan—and Israel as its beating heart. The Pulse nightclub was hit because it was a soft target in America—an unprotected place where laughter and fun could be dramatically, radically transformed into tears and unspeakable sadness by a lone madman. Because Mateen was a reputed racist and his strike zone was catering to the Latin community that night, it is possible that his 102 casualties were also victims of ethnic bigotry. And because homosexual behavior is a capital offense under Sharia law (take note, progressives), there can be little doubt they were further targeted for being gay; that they were victims of homo-hatred.
But it now looks likely there may have been one more motivation behind this great tragedy—one that could have been primary. A big part of the shooter’s hatred may have been directed at a deep-seated fear and loathing within himself.
Omar Mateen could very well have been a homophobe.
 The vast majority of people who openly—or due to the politically-correct tenor of our times, privately—view homosexual behavior as sub-optimal or morally wrong are not homophobic. They have no fear—irrational or otherwise—of homosexuality. They may object to it for philosophical or empirical reasons. More commonly, among Christians it is seen as a brokenness in God’s design and plan for mankind (Gen. 1:27; 5:2), as one manifestation of the Fall: the effects of the sin every person must struggle with and find a way to overcome by God’s grace. Same-sex attracted or gender dysphoric individuals are not to be feared—and certainly not hated. In Christ, they are to be respected and loved as fellow image-bearers of God and invited to join the great company of broken people and fellow-sinners in their quest to be conformed more and more into that image. Like the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) they are to be invited to experience His love, forgiveness and healing power—to be set free from the condemnation of sin and find the grace to “go and sin no more.”