Three years after the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub that left 49 dead, dozens gathered on the steps of Florida’s Historic Capitol to remember the victims. A coalition of LGBTQ rights activists say they will “honor them with action.”
The day of remembrance came in the middle of Pride Month, and speakers at Wednesday’s event said acts like that of the Pulse shooter won’t intimidate them into changing who they are. Chloe Bressack, who spoke at the event, said acts of pride both big and small make a difference.
“It might be something small – maybe there’s that one uncle in your family that you haven’t come out to yet, and every time you go to a family gathering you catch yourself watching what you say around him,” Bressack said. “Or maybe, you have the ability to travel, and you can drive to my hometown of Pensacola, and you can protest Representative Mike Hill and his outrageous comments.”
There, Bressack references Republican state Representative Mike Hill, who was recently heard on tape laughing at a constituents’ joke suggesting legislation be filed to kill gay people.
Gina Duncan, a transgender woman who is director of Equality Florida’s TransAction Network, travelled from Orlando to give remarks at the event.
“So what do we do? We stand up and we fight back. We honor the 49 with action,” Duncan said. “Together, let us commit that we will not go back, we will not retreat into the closet, and we will not live in the shadows.”