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LGBTQ Chicago Shows Sympathy And Resolve After The Orlando Massacre

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 13, 2016 3:15PM

In the wake of Sunday morning's attacks in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Chicago's LGBT community gathered for a vigil in Boystown Sunday night, and shared many empathetic statements and condolences via social media.

The Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA Chicago) expressed sympathy and resolve in a statement:

"We send the victims and their families our condolences and sympathy during this difficult time. We also send the LGBTQ community in Orlando our best thoughts as they mourn, heal and work towards moving forward.

This tragic event is even more difficult to understand considering that June is Pride Month. Yet, it is clear that in spite of all the legal victories in recent years, more work rests ahead of us.

While this is surely one of the most tragic events in our recent history, it represents the continued violence towards the LGBTQ community, in particular for LGBTQ people of color. Last year, over 20 trans women of color were murdered in acts of hate crime; and those numbers continue to grow this year. While for many of us in LGBTQ community, our sense of safety has been shattered because of the Orlando shooting. We must remain vigilant, we must remain united, and we must continue to work together with our allies to continue our progress."

Today we mourn. Tomorrow we heal.

The Gay Liberation Network called for unity and warned against scapegoating:

The worst thing we could do right now is compound a horrible act of anti-LGBT hate by promoting anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant hate. To use this tragedy to promote Trump-like behavior would be despicable. It is a race to the bottom---outright bigotry---branding all people in a group, regardless of character, as the enemy.
We LGBTs have recently won so many rights-with the aid of so many non-LGBTs of all faiths-that it would be unworthy of us to become haters towards any other group of people. We have in our LGBT community many Muslims and immigrants who catch it from both sides-racist Islamophobes on one side, anti-LGBT bigots on the other. We especially need to stand with them, and stand against scapegoating, period.

Another Chicago vigil is planned for this evening, at the Center on Halsted (7 p.m.). Scheduled participants include Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Tom Tunney (44th Ward), Korey White (Windy City Performing Arts), Mona Noriega (Commission on Human Relations), Abdul-Malik Ryan, JD (Assistant Director, Religious Diversity and Loop Ministry, DePaul University), and Jim Bennett (Lambda Legal), among others.

A GoFundMe account created by Equality Florida continues to collect funds for victims and families here.

Update, 3:45 p.m.: The Legacy Project also released a statement on Sunday, excerpted here:

"Throughout our history LGBTQ people have been no strangers to acts of violence and hatred against us, and even today-in a presumably civil, secular, and more accepting society-we remain isolated and targeted by any number of Americans-of all faiths and of no faith-whose hatred of homosexuals has expressed itself in calls for violence towards us-including death.

The preponderance of bills pending in state houses across the country calling for restriction of LGBTQ civil rights recognition-or complete dispensation from having to respect LGBTQ people on religious grounds-contribute to an environment that tells a lone, deranged gunman that, on some level, he is acting in a righteous fashion by targeting LGBTQ people exclusively.

These realities neither excuse nor explain such an act of violence. But they are realities nonetheless and no one-no average citizen, no elected official, no individual who would presume to lead us-should be allowed to hide from the consequences of having contributed to an environment of hateful provocation.

The only solution we are empowered to engage in is to live our truth openly and honestly, and to share our lives and our history and our contributions in the hopes of changing the hearts and minds of those who, perhaps up until today, did not realize that there is an inevitable result at the end of unchecked, unchallenged hatred of any group-the well from which all extremism springs."