Content Warning: This article contains mentions of violence against the LGBTQ+ community and details of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Pulse Nightclub Anniversary, June 12th 2023
On June 12th of each year, we commemorate and remember the victims and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting. We continue to pay our respects to the LGBTQ+ people we lost and send our condolences to their loved ones. Today marks the 7th anniversary of this tragedy.
What happened at Pulse Nightclub?
On June 12th 2016, a man entered the LGBTQ+ venue Pulse nightclub with two guns. He proceeded to open fire on all those inside the club. Over 300 people attended the venue that night. Many escaped and fled the scene, messaging loved ones about what was happening.
The events of the Pulse nightclub shooting brought fear and terror to the LGBTQ+ community. The shooter killed 49 people and more than 50 were injured. Each year in June, loved ones and others organise vigils in Florida to remember those we lost. The shooting occurred during Pride Month. In a month dedicated to the celebration of LGBTQ+ people, their lives were taken away.
On the day of the shooting, the nightclub was hosting a Latin American night. Therefore, the majority of the queer and trans people present were Latinx. While there is no proof, it is not impossible to imagine that race could have played a factor in the shooting.
Mass shootings in the US
The shooting at Pulse nightclub remains one of the most heartbreaking and vicious attacks on LGBTQ+ venues in the United States. In 2021, President Joe Biden released a statement about the shooting. He named what happened at Pulse nightclub one of the ‘deadliest mass shootings by a single gunman’.
Instead of Pulse being a place of love and acceptance, it is now overshadowed by pain and loss. PinkNews magazine has created a list of all the 49 victims’ names for anyone to access. May they never be forgotten.
Sadly, in the present day not much has changed. In only three months into 2023, the US has seen over 140 mass shootings. While these may not be hate crimes like the one at Pulse nightclub, the issue of gun violence still remains. Survivors of the attack at Pulse nightclub have called this problem ‘incredibly disappointing’. For years, they have called for gun law reforms. However, gun-related deaths continue to rise in the US.
Violence against the LGBTQ+ community
The LGBTQ+ community continues to suffer at the hands of homophobia, biphobia, queerphobia and transphobia. In November 2022, at least five people lost their lives in a mass shooting at another LGBTQ+ nightclub. Moreover, governments in the US are passing hundreds of anti-trans bills that will negatively impact the trans community. Research has shown that violence is four times more prevalent among trans and gender diverse people.
LGBTQ+ people are dying. It is crucial for governments around the world to prioritise their safety. Instead, we are met with discriminatory, transphobic policies that only serve to endanger us further. Let’s keep fighting for LGBTQ+ rights during this Pride month and ensure that the victims of the Pulse nightclub will never be forgotten. May they all rest in peace.