On June 12 2016, America’s worst mass murder took place at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was latino night in the middle of Pride Month and 49 mostly young, LGBTQ and latinx people were murdered.
Pride Month in the USA is a yearly event that commemorates the June 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, an important milestone in the fight for LGBTQ rights and the creation of safe spaces for LGBTQ people to gather and be themselves without fear of arrest.
Pride events attract millions of participants around the world and include pride parades and memorials to commemorate community members who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS and hate crimes.
This year, the Orlando LGBTQ community has created the #HonorThemWithAction campaign as a way for people around the world to recognize the victims of the attack and their families by helping to create a culture of safety, acceptance and equality.
As part of the campaign there are 49 action ideas that will be released over seven weeks. Every Monday seven new daily actions will offer ways for people to reflect on the Orlando tragedy and to act on the campaign’s platform issues. These issues include the Equality March for Unity and Pride, disability rights, elder rights, faith and religion, HIV/AIDS, immigration justice and transphobia.
GLAAD is partnering with the campaign and has released a video of LGBTQ advocates and influencers talking about the need for safe spaces for LGBTQ people.
Without including the Orlando victims, 2016 was the deadliest year on record for the LGBTQ community in the United States according to a report released by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).
The NCAVP found a 17% increase in hate killings from the previous year, with transgender people the most at risk. In 2016 the NCAVP tracked 21 homicides of transgender and gender-non-conforming people whilst in 2017 they have already tracked 12 transgender homicides with 10 of the victims being transgender women of color.
These attacks are not happening in isolation. So far in 2017 more than 100 anti-LGBTQ bills been introduced in 29 states in the USA whilst the Trump administration has been criticised for its anti-LGBTQ agenda.
“Recent executive orders as well as ongoing efforts to pass anti-LGBTQ legislation and rollback protections at the city, state, and federal level make LGBTQ people vulnerable to identity-based discrimination as we go about our daily lives," said Beverly Tillery at the New York City Anti-Violence Project.
"These attacks on our communities send the message that discrimination and violence against LGBTQ people is acceptable. Every one of us must call out and resist religious exemption and anti-LGBTQ public accommodation bills for the hateful legislation that they are, and advocate for increased protections for LGBTQ communities on the state and federal level."
To sign up to become a Pulse Partner or learn more about the campaign, click here.