This was an attack on the entire TBLG community, and we cannot allow the people killed at Pulse to die in vain. Far from the entire community cowering in fear, we should be even more determined to openly live our lives and work to ensure that homophobia and transphobia are eradicated from our culture.-TransGriot June 13, 2016
I definitely remember where I was when I heard about the Pulse nightclub terror attack in Orlando. I was in Philadelphia staying at Dionne Stallworth’s place for the just concluded Philly Trans Health Conference.
I was in the midst of an empowering few days that started with me going to Washington DC and the White House for my first LGBT Pride Reception with Ruby Corado, then immediately leaving with Fiona Dawson to ride up I-95 to Philadelphia for my early Friday morning PTHC media panel moderated by Brynn Tannehill after arriving a little after midnight.
I was in Philadelphia preparing to catch a Megabus to Washington DC for Capital Pride and my flight back to the Houston area when Dionne hit me with the first disturbing early Sunday morning news about the Pulse shooting.
The details were still coming out as I headed to the Megabus pickup stop in Philly for my trip back down I-95 to DC, and I sent out a tweet that incensed the right wing haters when I said “This tragedy is the result of six months of nonstop GOP anti-gay hatred for their political gain.”
That started a swarm of GOP leaning Twitter trolls heading to my Twitter feed to swarm attack me. I spent the entire 139 mile (224 km) bus ride calling out and then blocking them until I hit DC’s Union Station. I spent some time at the nearby Capital Pride, and noticed the increased police presence for the event before heading to BWI airport a few hours later.
49 people died during that terror attack on Latin Night, with another 53 people being wounded. And yes, I still do blame all the anti-gay and anti-trans Republican rhetoric in being a catalyst for the Pulse attack.
And still haven’t forgotten that reprehensible tweet Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick (R) unleashed on the world early that morning.
It also made me think about the fact less than a few hours before I’d been in a predominately trans convention space. I noted when I entered the convention center for PTHC’s Saturday sessions the security level for our event and thinking we needed more than the single unarmed security company person at the doors in light of all the anti-trans rhetoric that had been put out there across the country by the Republicans and other conservative media.
A few months later I got the opportunity to see the Pulse site for myself while attending this year’s LGBT Media Journalists Convening in Orlando.
Earlier that Saturday morning during one of our sessions we’d heard from one of the survivors who urged us to remind people in our upcoming anniversary articles we would soon write that this happened on Latin Night.
I noted when our buses rolled up from the hotel the Puerto Rican flags put up as part of the memorial. I noted the reverent silence at a site that should have had vehicles filling its parking lot and excited anticipation building for another night in which the Orlando TBLGQ community gathered at this location for fun and to meet that special person.
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chavez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
Instead, it is now quiet because of a senseless mass shooting that targeted our community and the makeshift memorials that now cover portions of that fenced off parking lot.
The Orlando City soccer club has 49 rainbow flag seats in Section 12 with #OrlandoUnited on them in its new stadium just two miles from the club in honor of the persons we lost that night.
The Pulse club itself in now a memorial And sadly, we now have an idiot in the White House who is pandering to the right wing fundamentalists and members of his base who would love for that to happen again.
No, it can’t be allowed to happen again. And we must redouble our efforts as a TBLGQ community to eradicate homophobia and transphobia from our greater societal ranks