Sunday, July 17, 2016

LGBT reacts to ORLANDO shooting

Several days since the early Sunday mass shooting incident at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, the LGBT community has been unleashing an outpouring of reactions and commentaries regarding the attack on the popular gay bar, which was not only the most deadly act of domestic violence on American soil since 9/11, but also arguably a targeted strike at members of the LGBT group. Known LGBT celebrities, as well as sympathetic public figures and supporters, have given their two cents on the bloody tragedy, its aftermath, and possible consequences for the future.

Among the stalwart celebrities making their voices heard on Twitter, as collected by, are British musician Sir Elton John, who posted a quotation from Martin Luther King, along with his own message of support to the people of Orlando. Actor-director George Takei, who portrayed Hikaru Sulu in the classic TV series Star Trek, shared his devastation over the victims of the shooting alongside fellow actors Neil Patrick Harris and Game of Thrones’ Kristian “Hodor” Nairn, as well as Apple CEO Tim Cook, who had publicly come out in late 2014. Comedienne and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres could only get out one word to express her grief: “Sobbing”. Some other heartfelt tweets came from notable transgender figures such as Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, former Olympic athlete and reality television contestant.

The assault on The Pulse club that left 53 wounded and 50 dead including the perpetrator, Afghan-American Muslim and self-proclaimed ISIS supporter Omar Mateen, was seen as a chilling reminder that despite the great leaps of progress in acceptance and equal rights for people who identify themselves as part of the LGBT, there are still lingering traces of queer phobia in America and other countries all over the world that spur acts of prejudice, angry hostility and outright physical violence. has described the outside of The Pulse club in the tense hours after the incident as an eyewitness painted a chilling picture of bloody bodies laid out; some dead, others being tagged according to medical priority as clothes were torn up to search for bullet wounds. In light of the event being generally accepted as a terrorist attack, the Florida governor and Orlando’s Mayor Buddy Dyer have both declared states of emergency, with the latter being pleased and proud of how his constituents have been handling the situation.

Despite the shadow the attack has left over not only the city of Orlando but the entire nation however, it has not crushed the spirits of the LGBT community, only spurring them to celebrate themselves, thank the people who accept and aid them, and call for ongoing change. Los Angeles and Washington, DC have just finished their respective LGBT pride festivals shortly before that fateful Sunday, and other locations such as West Hollywood have not been daunted in pushing through with their own celebrations. On a more uplifting note, Orlando locals have flooded Twitter with photos of a rainbow appearing over the general location of The Pulse club on the 15th . To quote the house words of the Martell family from George RR Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” book series, “Unbowed. Unbent. Unbroken.”

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