The world mourned this weekend, as America experienced the “worst mass massacre in history”. A terrorist who is reportedly associated with ISIS unleashed fire on Florida’s popular gay club, Pulse; leaving at least 50 people dead, and 53 injured. There are a number of heartbreaking details to this
Barbara had opened the club as a dedication to her gay brother John, who died from AIDS; it was named after John’s heartbeat. The place was created as somewhere that the LGBT community could feel safe; something that clearly quite difficult to create. Barbara said she was “devastated” about the tragic events.
Homophobia is still alive. As much as it’s great to reflect on the progress we’ve made, it only demonstrated that we still have a lot of work to do. In fact, there are homophobes and Islamic extremists praising the shooting on various social media outlets.
After this, a man was caught travelling to LA Pride with multiple firearms and potential explosives. He was arrested, but it is unknown whether he had planned an attack at the event.
A mother who can’t find her son, and who can’t be told anything of his whereabouts reminds us just how precious life is.
Even after such a horrific occurrence, we as gay men are still restricted on how much we can help our gay brothers, because we are not allowed to donate blood. Which conceptually, is heartbreaking in itself – . But according to various news sites, the Florida Blood Bank has been overwhelmed with the amount of donors; which only shows that there are still good people in the world, people who care about our community. In fact, the Florida Blood Bank said they had never witnessed so much support.
A Turkish newspaper ran the headline “50 perverts killed in bar”. The newspaper, which according to the Daily Mail, has strong ties with their president, branded the victims of a hate and/or terrorist crime perverts.
The attack may have a political agenda. Anybody who is paying the slightest bit of attention to the presidential election – as well as the EU referendum – knows that this could have a impact on the public’s vote, leaving some conspiracy theorists claiming that there is more to the attack. Voters may be tempted to sway towards Trump’s team, in order to prevent future terrorist attacks, while with headlines like the one above, others may consider Brexit for the upcoming referendum.
There is LOVE amongst us. I have honestly never felt such a strong tie to the gay community, and it’s awful that something like this has to happen to remind us of our brotherhood, but it really does put things in perspective. It really is one of the most horrific news stories I’ve ever seen. But the world are here to support the family and friends left behind, and to pray for those that have died; vigils are being held worldwide as a mark of respect.
The London one will take place tonight at 7pm on Old Compton Street.
This man’s first person account of how he saved another man’s life, tells us that although tragedies happen every day, so do miracles.
This isn’t the first homophobic and/or terrorist attack, and it unfortunately won’t be the last. But what happened highlights our sense of community, love and support for each other. We keep the families in our thoughts and our hearts. Attend the vigil, hold hands with a stranger, stand in silence – and show the world that love is the answer. To all of the members of the LGBT community – we truly hope for your safety.
We’d also love to receive your photos from vigils held around the world: [email protected]