Since I woke up last Sunday to the news of 49 people killed in an Orlando gay nightclub (the Pulse) I have gone through a gamut of emotions, but mostly I’ve just felt sad.
Forty-nine people like me were killed for being themselves; in a place they felt safe and should have been safe.
The reason this event hits so close to my heart is one of the reasons hate crimes are considered more egregious than others – because they affect a whole sub-group of our population in profound ways. And, just like many many other LGBT folks, I am feeling profoundly affected.
The responses from all over the world that I have seen are overwhelming and there is no way to adequately mention it all here. I am including a small smattering of examples.
President Obama made a statement about the shooting and here is an excerpt:
“For so many people here who are
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, the Pulse Nightclub has always
been a safe haven, a place to sing and dance, and most importantly,
to be who you truly are — including for so many people whose
families are originally from Puerto Rico. Sunday morning, that
sanctuary was violated in the worst way imaginable. So whatever the
motivations of the killer, whatever influences led him down the
path of violence and terror, whatever propaganda he was consuming
from ISIL and al Qaeda, this was an act of terrorism but it was
also an act of hate. This was an attack on the LGBT community.
Americans were targeted because we’re a country that has learned to
welcome everyone, no matter who you are or who you love. And hatred
towards people because of sexual orientation, regardless of where
it comes from, is a betrayal of what’s best in us.”
(More about the statements and reactions from President Obama)
In a statement Seattle’s Mayor Edward Murray said:
“Words cannot adequately encompass
the feelings of grief I am feeling for the loss of so many of our
LGBTQ and allied brothers and sisters in Orlando during the largest
single act of violence against LGBTQ people in United States
history. For too long, our community has been the target of
violence throughout the world. It will never make sense to me that
love is met with such hate.”
(Mayor Murray’s complete statement)
On Monday June 13th, several Kitsap organizations, Kitsap leaders and about 300 Kitsap folks joined together for a vigil to honor the victims and their families.
During the vigil many of us signed a banner that read
“Kitsap Stands With Orlando” and the next day Bremerton’s Mayor
Patty Lent mailed the banner to Orlando’s mayor.
Kitsap Sun article on vigil
In addition to the vigil, those lost in the Orlando shooting
will be remembered at all of the LGBTQ Pride events in Kitsap
County leading up to the 20th Kitsap Pride on July
I found several web pages with the names of those that died,
with some information about each. Here are two:
These are the names to
Many were so young! Senseless and tragic!
Obama also said: “So if there was ever a moment for all of us to reflect and reaffirm our most basic beliefs that everybody counts and everybody has dignity, now is the time.”