Our hearts ache. All of us at the True Colors Fund are devastated by the tragic events that took place at Pulse nightclub in Orlando this weekend. We extend our love to the city of Orlando, to the families and friends who lost loved ones, to the local lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and to the Latinx community. Our thoughts are with the survivors, our country, and our community nationwide.
But, as has been said by so many, thoughts are not enough. We must stand together to create a nation strengthened by our differences, rather than divided by them. We must stand together and recognize the power love has over hate, even in this painful time. We understand that this act, which took 49 lives and injured at least 53 others, was an act of violence against LGBT people. We also understand that the attack took place on Pulse’s Latin night, and our hearts go out to our Latinx friends and family. The fear that we are all feeling in the wake of this attack is undeniable. Yet we do not respond by scapegoating. Instead, we channel our grief into solidarity for those lost, and for all oppressed people.
When you live day to day under the weight of rejection from the world around you, a nightclub can be a sanctuary. Pulse is a place where LGBT people gather to dance, celebrate, and feel welcome. It’s a rare place where people can feel safe, and be at peace among friends and family. And when we say family, we’re not always talking about blood relatives. For many LGBT folks, family is chosen – it’s the people we love… the people who celebrate and accept us… the people who are always there for us. Many people had family at Pulse this weekend. To many, Pulse was a sanctuary – a home.
The True Colors Fund stands with our LGBT family in Orlando and across the country. If you are struggling during this difficult time, we encourage you to seek fellowship and support at an LGBT community center near you (here’s a directory from our friends at CenterLink). If you’re in Orlando, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida is offering crisis services in collaboration with community partners. In addition to setting up a crisis hotline, they are accepting donations for water and dry goods and are in need of people to donate blood. Unfortunately, the FDA currently bans men who have had sex with men in the past year from giving blood. We know this is frustrating. If you are unable to donate, but want to help, we encourage you to invite those who can to give. Check out the Orlando Center’s Facebook post for more information.