Omar Mateen, the 29-year-old Muslim man who murdered 49 people and injured 53 in a hail of gunfire inside a club in Orlando known as a LGBT hot spot, was himself homosexual – or at least obsessed enough with the homosexual lifestyle that he spent considerable time hanging about the same bar he shot up on Sunday, witnesses said.
As the New York Daily News put it: “The homophobic maniac who murdered 49 people inside Orlando’s gay-friendly nightclub Pulse Sunday morning had been hanging out there for three years – and chatted with men via online dating services like Grindr, said multiple witnesses who claimed to have firsthand knowledge of Mateen’s habits.”
Mateen’s family said his acts of murder were committed due to his hatred of homosexuality. But his ex-wife Sitora Yusufiy, who was married to Mateen in 2009 for three months, claimed Monday in an interview on Brazilian television station SBT Brazil that she believed he was homosexual.
As the New York Post noted, Yusufiy’s fiancee, Marco Dias, spoke on her behalf in Portuguese to local media that she believed Mateen possessed “gay tendencies,” and that his father had even referred to him as “gay” in front of her on at least one occasion. Dias also said during this interview that the “FBI asked her not to tell this to the American media,” the New York Post reported. But that claim hasn’t been reported elsewhere, or verified by members of the U.S. government.
Yusufiy herself, however, hesitated during an interview on CNN when she was bluntly asked if her former husband had been “gay.” Her response?
She was silent for a few seconds, then said: “I don’t know,” the New York Daily News reported.
She also explained that while she left the relationship after just a few short months because of abuse, that Mateen, during their time together, did enjoy the club scene and went out to bars at night on a frequent basis.
“When we had gotten married, he confessed to me about his past … and that he very much enjoyed going to clubs and the nightlife,” she said, during the CNN interview. “So I feel like it’s a side of him or a part of him that he lived but probably didn’t want anybody to know about.”
Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, however, said his son was not a homosexual.
“It’s not true,” he said. “Why, if he is gay, would he do this? If it was true, I would say yes. If it’s not true, I say it’s not true.”
But one of Mateen’s former classmates, who asked to be unnamed, said to WFTV in Orlando he believed back in 2006 the now-dead shooter had been “gay,” but had been scared to admit it. The classmate also said Mateen had actually asked him for a date, but that he had declined.
“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 just wanted to fit in and no one liked him. He was always socially awkward.”
Meanwhile, those who frequented Pulse said they saw Mateen at the club several times over the past three years, the New York Daily News reported. And at least one “gay” couple who also worked as drag-queen dancers, Ty Smith and Chris Callen, said they’d seen Mateen escorted drunk from the bar on more than one occasion.
“[Mateen would get] really, really drunk,” Smith said, in earlier comments to the Canadian Press. “He couldn’t drink when he was at home, around his wife, or family. His father was really strict. … He used to bitch about it.”
They also said the story his father told on national television about Mateen being straight and becoming incensed when he saw two men kissing in Miami – and that the kissing incident had actually fueled his rage and the shootings – was false.
“That’s bullcrap, right there,” Smith said, to the Canadian Press. “No offense [but] that’s straight-up crap. He’s been around us. Some of those people did a little more than [kiss] outside the bar. … He was partying with the people who supposedly drove him to do this?”
Another report from MSNBC included a claim from a man who said Mateen had contacted him on Grindr, a “gay” online app.