Irish LGBT organisations on Orlando tragedy – Silent vigil tonight, Monday from 18:45, in Dublin

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As reports continue to come in about the horrific shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Ireland’s three National LGBT Organisations BeLonG To, GLEN and TENI made the following statement:

“We are all in shock at the horror unfolding at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Speaking on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Ireland, our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to the survivors and friends, families and loved ones of those who died.

The gay club, the beating heart of many LGBT+ people’s social lives, is a sanctuary for LGBT people all over the world. For generations, many LGBT people fleeing rejection, oppression and abuse have found the gay club or bar to be a refuge where they can feel safe, where they can be themselves without worrying about the repercussion they may experience in the home, in school or in the streets.

As well as the unspeakably tragic loss of 50 of our family, that very sanctuary came under attack on Sunday morning. But we are proud. The LGBT+ community is no stranger to violent attacks and we will, as we have had to do before,  harness the aftermath, the grieving, the anger, into something positive that has made the next generation’s lives better. It’s understandable to feel a mixture of emotions after an event as violent as this, but let’s not be afraid.

Let us remember that LGBT Muslims are equally as terrified of an indiscriminately homophobic killer as anyone else, but are now likely to face increased racism as a result of this attack. One of the most powerful acts of solidarity we witnessed in the wake of the attack came from The Council on American-Islamic Relations in the US, an Islamic civil rights group, urging Muslims in the area to donate blood. Let’s make this tragedy bring our diverse intersectional communities together, not tear it apart.

We know that Irish LGBT people can and do experience verbal and physical attacks because of who they are, or are perceived to be. No right thinking person in Ireland would justify those, and it is now a moment for all of us to commit to ensuring that we wipe out homophobia, transphobia and biphobia from all corners of Ireland.

Together we are inviting the Irish LGBT communities, our friends and allies, to join us in a rainbow vigil at 18.45hrs Monday 13 June 2016 at Barnardo’s Square (beside City Hall on Dame Street, Dublin 2) for a silent expression of our solidarity and sympathy with all those affected and bereaved by the tragedy and find collective comfort in a public display of condolence and defiance. Please bring your rainbow flags and emblems.

We are urging anyone feeling distressed since this horrific incident to reach out to the National LGBT Helpline on www.lgbt.ie/ or 1890 929 539.”

For anyone in Ireland wishing to record or report LGBT hate related incidents that they have experienced or witnessed, they can do so at:

www.stophatecrime.ie

www.teni.ie/stad

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