Monday, 12 December 2016

Pulse Nightclub: 6 months later

Today marks 6 months since the deadly shooting at LGBT nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida, United States.

The shooting was the deadliest terror attack on US soil since the September 11th attacks, 49 people were killed and 53 injured, when Omar Mateen opened fire in the club on June 12th.

Many not only viewed it as an attack on the West, but also particularly the LGBT community, due to the gunman's clear anti-LGBT agenda and targeting.

In the wake of the attack President Obama called the shooting a homophobic hate crime and called for stricter gun controls.

It isn't completely clear what will become of Pulse, but in November 2016 the City of Orlando agreed to purchase the club for over $2 million and it may become a permanent memorial to the victims.

It's understood the owners backed out of that arrangement but a memorial event is set to be held there later today.

Orlando City Soccer Club have also paid their own tribute to the victims, with a section of the stadiums seating being turned into rainbow colours, and a row of seats left missing.

Meanwhile a scheme is being put in place in Orlando, to allow businesses to identify themselves as "safe places" for LGBT people, the businesses will display window decorations identifying themselves as such.

The scheme has been launched today, with 500 stickers, saying "safe place" in the shape of a police badge already prepared.

I think those two examples show how an awful lot of good, came from such a tragedy, the LGBT community and other sane minded people were not scared into hiding, instead they came together in solidarity and supported each other.

Even thousands of miles away in the UK, we sent messages of hope and solidarity to our LGBT brothers and sisters in the United States, letting them know we were with them in spirit.

What really moved me was the front page of the Metro newspaper the day after, which simply said 'We're With You'...

Candlelit vigils were also held across the country including in Newcastle, Manchester and Birmingham.

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