Seven years since the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub, we remember the 49 lives that were taken by a reckless act of gun violence. As we celebrate Pride, their loss continues to echo throughout and beyond the Latinx, Black, and Queer communities. As Florida lawmakers actively work to make our communities less welcoming, particularly for trans and queer youth—we honor those whose lives were stolen that night with a continuous call for action. We must continue to fight at the intersection of gun violence prevention and LGBTQ+ rights to make Florida—and the United States—safe for all.
Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund
“Seven years ago, Orlando, Florida and the queer community were changed forever. As we come off the heels of several mass shootings just this year and continued attacks against the LGBTQ+ community, including in Colorado Springs last fall, it is abundantly clear that rampant gun violence still reverberates in all our communities across the United States,” said Becky George, Senior Advisor, Movement Building, Everytown for Gun Safety. In this country, marginalized people, including people of color and LGBTQ+ people, are disproportionately affected and we cannot let lawmakers ignore the fatal consequences of inaction. Pride calls for celebration, but we also demand concrete steps to protect our communities from rampant gun violence so that queer individuals, and everyone else, can be safe.”
One Orlando Alliance
As we mourn the 49 lives taken too soon and celebrate the resilience of the hundreds of survivors of that tragic night. We must also note that as Floridians, we are facing an emergency again caused by Anti-LGBTQ+ and Anti-Immigrant policies, Book Bans in a feeble attempt to erase a well-known history of oppression by people in the highest office in our state. In addition to the false narratives, our governor has made it easier to bring concealed weapons into public spaces by signing the permit-less carry bill, putting our communities in harm’s way.
“Orlando knows firsthand the price we pay when we allow violence to go unchecked. We pay for it with our lives. It is indeed our duty to honor the fallen 49 with action, and we will not stand down as our communities are attacked once again for political gain,” said Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet, One Orlando Alliance Board Chairman
“The LGBTQ community and its allies are no stranger to the cost of militarized hatred. Six years ago, Orlando was rocked by the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ community in our nation’s history. It was a gut wrenching reminder of the need for our work to disarm hate and reimagine a world free of bigotry. That work is paramount now. LGBTQ people are being targeted, in Florida and across the country, with policies designed to erase us and embolden acts of hate against us. Like the tragedy at Pulse, these political attacks are meant to scare us into hiding, to force us back into the closet. We are called to meet this moment just as we did seven years ago: by being more visible than ever. By honoring those stolen with action. By refusing to let hate erase us. By choosing love over hate, community over division. By raising our flags higher than ever and demanding equality for all and freedom from the scourge of gun violence,” said Brandon Wolf, Pulse Nightclub Survivor & Equality Florida Press Secretary
Equality Federation Institute
“This June, we mark seven years since the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ+ community at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Unfortunately, in these seven years, the violence and hatred toward LGBTQ+ people have only intensified. This year alone, we’ve seen state legislatures enact some of the most horrible anti-LGBTQ+ laws we’ve ever seen, particularly those targeting transgender young people. In Florida and dozens of other states, anti-LGBTQ+ legislators are doing all they can to stop even the mention of our community, fueling a climate of hate that leads to greater violence against us. But they will never erase us. LGBTQ+ people have always been here, and we will continue to fight for our ability to exist. We must keep honoring the memories of the lives cut short on June 12, 2016—and the many other members of the LGBTQ+ community whose lives have been taken or forever changed by hate and violence,” said Fran Hutchins, Executive Director.
Peer Support Space
“As we approach 7 years since the Pulse Tragedy, we remember the 49 lost and our hearts go out to a community still grieving and healing. We acknowledge that living with trauma is not linear and want to gently remind one another that feelings are messy but you are not alone. Particularly in todays sociopolitical climate, it may be easy to feel overwhelmed or isolated. There is no “right” way to feel and our feelings are valid, regardless of how we may be impacted, directly or indirectly.
The Pulse Tragedy was a rude awakening to existing issues within our mental health systems for Black, Spanish-speaking, Latin, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Peer Support Space continues to honor the lives lost to the Pulse Tragedy by pushing forward to create an ecosystem that does not continually leave the same communities behind when it comes to mental health, safety, and other types of care.
The Orlando community, our siblings in Colorado Springs, the LGBTQ+ community – we know what it is to be affected by gun violence. As a gun violence survivor myself, as someone who has held space for years for other survivors or grievers, we plead for those able to please do what you can so that less people have to endure this level of pain.
Trans and LGBTQ+ communities, Black and racialized communities are being targeted in unfathomable ways. An attack on any community is an attack on all of us. We must work collectively and in solidarity with one another whether it is pushing against new laws, volunteering to get involved, or asking a friend “how are you really?”.
Year marks can bring up big emotions. We see you, we care about you, and we love you,” said Yasmin Flasterstein (she/they), Executive Director of Peer Support Space.
“Today and every day, our hearts are with the loved ones of the 49 lives taken at Pulse. Our beloved LGBTQ community, and all communities facing increased violence and vile rhetoric, need elected officials to do their jobs and prioritize safety for all. Gun violence is now the number one killer of children in the U.S., and extremist politicians are banning books and health care. Every voice must speak up for safety and the freedom to be ourselves and to live in peace and joy. We will never stop fighting for a world where everyone is safe and free,” said GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis.
“As we mark the seven-year remembrance of the Pulse tragedy, we stand in solidarity with Everytown for Gun Safety in our commitment to creating a safer and more equitable world for all. Contigo Fund, a participatory grantmaking organization based in the South, is proud to be a leading funder of LGBTQ+ communities of color in Central Florida. We strive to empower emerging and grassroots groups by providing financial support, fostering connections, and building leadership capacity. Our work is a tribute to the strength and perseverance of queer black and brown communities, and we remain committed to supporting and uplifting them in their pursuit of a brighter future.”
“As we remember the 7th anniversary of the Pulse tragedy, we honor the lives lost and forever changed and acknowledge the injustice and social-political issues that emerged from this devastating event. This occasion compels us to reflect on our society’s systemic challenges and renew our commitment to creating lasting change.
The Pulse shooting was not just an isolated act of violence but a stark reminder of the discrimination, prejudice, and inequality that persists in our communities. It exposed the vulnerability of the LGBTQ+ community and highlighted the urgent need for a society that values and protects every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or ethnicity.
We stand firmly against any form of discrimination, whether rooted in homophobia, transphobia, racism, or any other manifestation of prejudice. We condemn policies that restrict equal rights and opportunities and strive for a society where everyone is treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.
Our commitment extends beyond this remembrance. We pledge to continue advocating for comprehensive and inclusive legislation that protects the rights and well-being of all individuals. In addition, we will support initiatives that challenge discrimination and promote social justice, recognizing that progress can only be achieved through collective action and a relentless pursuit of equality,” said Gabriella Rodriguez, Executive Director of QLatinx
Human Rights Campaign Foundation
“The 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting remain in our hearts and guide our work. Seven years later, we are still fighting the vitriolic hate and gun violence that takes the lives of LGBTQ+ people far too often,” said Kelley Robinson, Human Rights Campaign President. “The targeted political attacks launched by Gov. DeSantis continue to make Florida an increasingly dangerous place for the LGBTQ+ community—we must protect LGBTQ+ Floridians and honor the beautiful, vibrant lives lost at Pulse with action.”
OnePULSE Foundation“This year marks a sad and somber milestone as we remember the 49 lives lost and all the lives impacted by the hate-filled action of one person on June 12, 2016,” saidDeborah Bowie, executive director of the onePULSE Foundation. “Sadly, all these years later, gun violence is at an epidemic level in many American cities and towns. We are still fighting against hate rhetoric, intolerance, bigotry, and violence, but we are undeterred in our commitment to not let hate be the last word – not in Orlando and any other community where hate has visited.”