Following Horrifying Violence in Orlando, LGBT Community Rallies in Solidarity

By Adam Polaski • June 13, 2016 • 12:04 pm

Following a senseless act of violence at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando that has claimed at least 50 lives and injured dozens more, the LGBT community and allies across the country have rallied in solidarity. Here’s a guide to how you can help – and how allies and LGBT people are expressing the resilience, perseverance, and strength of the community:

WeAreOrlando

Donating to Victims of the Tragedy

Equality Florida, Florida’s largest statewide LGBT organization, is coordinating donations for the victims and families impacted by the Pulse tragedy through GoFundMe. The funds raised will go directly to the victims and their families. Join thousands in donating here.

PulseDonate

#WeAreOrlando Vigils and Solidarity Events

Dozens of events have been planned throughout this week to stand in solidarity with Orlando. Information about the gatherings are being collected here, at www.weareorlando.org. Here are some images from rallies and vigils:

Statements of Support

Equality Florida said this weekend in an email to supporters:

“Gay clubs hold a significant place in LGBTQ history. They were often the only safe gathering place, and this horrific act strikes directly at our sense of safety. June commemorates our community standing up to anti-LGBTQ violence at the Stonewall Inn, the nightclub that became the first LGBTQ site recognized as a national monument. … We have received a steady stream of emails and messages from those seeking to help or to make sense of the senseless. We make no assumptions on motive. We will await the details in tears of sadness and anger. We stand in solidarity and keep our thoughts on all whose lives have been lost or altered forever in this tragedy.”

Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said on Sunday:

“Our hearts are broken this morning as we learn of the horrifying violence against the LGBT community in Orlando. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, the first responders and the entire Orlando community. Pride month is meant to be a time of celebration and reflection on the resilience of LGBT people. We will see that same resilience persevere in response to this senseless attack. LGBT people and communities across the nation are united behind everyone in Florida today.”

President Barack Obama said yesterday:

“This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.  … So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country. And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”

Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement:

“Jill and I offer our prayers and deepest condolences for all those affected by today’s horrific events. But our prayers are not enough to end these kinds of senseless mass shootings. The violence is not normal, and the targeting of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans is evil and abhorrent. … Our law enforcement and intelligence professionals are still gathering the facts, and we do not yet know what, if any, connection or inspiration there may be with terrorist organizations. But we do know this—we will never rest in our relentless campaign to bring to justice all who would do America harm. And even as we grieve and pursue justice, no act of terror—no despicable act of hate—can tear us asunder. Times of unspeakable tragedy and evil like this are the moments to remind the killers, and the world, of what is best in us, and what unites us.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer issued this statement:

This morning our community, and our nation, experienced a horrific crime. Our hearts and prayers are with the victims and their families. … Despite the fact that this crime will have a lasting effect on our city and country, Orlando is a strong community. We will be grieving together in the upcoming days, weeks and months. We need to support each other and love each other. This tragedy will not define us, but will bring us together.

The Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity said this week (full statement at the link):

“MASGD today joins peace-loving people everywhere in grieving this senseless loss of life that is a reminder of the violence that LGBTQ people continue to experience, despite many recent legal gains for our communities. It is also not lost on us that this horrific tragedy occurred during LGBTQ Pride month, which this year coincides with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, typically a period of peace and intense self-reflection. It pains us to see that these periods of joy, celebration, and peace have been marred so violently with such horror. … This tragedy cannot be neatly categorized as a fight between the LGBTQ community and the Muslim community. As LGBTQ Muslims, we know that there are many of us who are living at the intersections of LGBTQ identities and Islam. At moments like this, we are doubly affected. We reject attempts to perpetuate hatred against our LGBTQ communities as well as our Muslim communities. We ask all Americans to resist the forces of division and hatred, and to stand against homophobia as well as against Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry. Let us remember that the actions of a single individual cannot speak for all Muslims. Let us also remember that there are many straight Muslims who have been strong allies to the Muslim LGBTQ community. We see the beauty in our cultures and our faith traditions, and we have experienced love, acceptance and support from many in our Muslim communities.”


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