I make an effort to be an informed adult on what is going on in the world. I have 4 different apps on my phone for the news that give me alerts about news events around the world. On Sunday morning, I woke up to a lot of news alerts on my phone starting at 4am and continuing every hour with updates. On my phone I saw the words ” Multiple injuries as gunman opens fire at Orland gay club” and as more details were made known, the stories only got worse. By the end of the day there were 50 people dead and all of America was glued to the tv asking why and how this could happen.
The weekend before I went to the Asbury Park Gay Pride and I saw hundreds of people feeling safe and comfortable just being themselves. I am straight and like guys but also felt it was important to support my friend and the LGBT community. I spent the whole day in Asbury and felt so welcomed even when it was clear that I was straight and out of my comfort zone a little bit. When was the last time a group of straight people went up to someone who was gay to make sure they felt included? Probably, never… But that day I had people treating me with respect and including me in their fun. Not once did someone turn their back to me or try to exclude me. This community focuses so much on love and equality, which is why I think it is so hard to wrap my head around the hate and rhetoric that aims to exclude this community.
I had my fun at Gay Pride in NJ and now it was time for Orlando to show their pride. Unfortunately, that night was cut short by one person and a gun.
Orlando has shattered America.
That morning I called my loved ones in the LGBT and told them that I loved them and they were safe. I didn’t know what else to do but tell them that I am there for them.
Orlando is far away from New Jersey but the LGBT community is right here in my neighborhood.
We Are Orlando
It is important to keep the dialogue open about this attack on the LGBT community. Just because it happened in Orlando does not mean it could not have happened in your town, to your friend, to your relative. This attack on Orlando needs to make us rethink the way we talk about gays in tv shows, the news and in our government. Did you know some states say that two gay dads are not suitable parents for adoption because they may harm the child? Did you know that a lot of doctors turn down transgender people for primary healthcare and hormone treatment? When gay marriage became legal in America it received a lot of negative media coverage… It is 2016 and it is time to change how we treat this community.
Instead of praying you can do more…..
from Huffington Post
Local LGBT civil rights organization Equality Florida has set up a GoFundMe page to support the Pulse nightclub shooting victims and their families. More than $1.7 million has already been donated as of Monday afternoon. Donate here.
CrowdRise has also launched a larger relief fund supporting a number of charitable causes, both those helping the victims of the Orlando shooting, as well as those working long-term to address issues of inequality and gun safety.Donate here.
A variety of local Central Florida LGBT organizations have partnered to run an emergency hotline and grief counselors at the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida. They have also set up a GoFundMe page, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Orlando shooting victims and their families. Donate here.
The OneOrlando Fund, formed by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, will support nonprofits helping victims’ families, as well as the LGBT, Latino and faith communities. Disney has already donated $1 million to the effort. Donate here.
Support LGBTQ Advocacy Efforts Worldwide
Because this tragic shooting shows yet again that the fight against homophobia is far from over, you can support the Human Rights Campaign to help with its ongoing advocacy efforts for LGBTQ equal rights worldwide.
Offer your support here.
Help End The Ban On Sexually Active Gay Men Donating Blood
After the shooting, many local gay and bisexual men wanted to give blood to help the victims — but they couldn’t. According to a decades-old Food and Drug Administration policy, any man who has had sex with another man in the past year is legally banned from giving blood. After the attack on Sunday, a petition was started calling for an end to the FDA ban.
Sign the petition here.
If You’re Local, Give Blood
After the shooting, hundreds lined up to give blood at a local center near the hospital where the victims were taken.
Florida blood center OneBlood continues to ask for blood donations in the coming days — specifically from O-negative, O-positive and AB donors. The center is currently open, and you can find your local blood center or donation bus here.
“Thousands of people packed our donor centers and blood drives eager to donate,” OneBlood wrote on its site Sunday. “Your immediate response to help patients in need was unprecedented and remarkable. We also want to thank all the people who showed up at our locations with food and water for donors.”
To make an appointment to give blood, click here, or call 1.888.9-DONATE.
Work To End Gun Violence
Everytown for Gun Safety advocates for an end to gun violence, and relies on the testimonies of survivors to partake in meaningful campaigns and address public officials to help foster change.
Find out more about Everytown for Gun Safety here.
Stand Together To Show That #WeAreOrlando
As people across the country and the world woke up to the tragic news Sunday, they gathered together in community vigils to honor the victims and their families. From Orlando to New York to Rome, people stood together, hugged, sang, lit candles and left flowers in the name of those lost.
To find a vigil near you, visit weareorlando.org, with a growing list of local events.
Reach Out If You Need Support
The LGBT community at large is still reeling from the attack. If you need support, or just someone to talk to, dial any of the national and local hotlines below.
The local GLBT Center of Central Florida has a crisis hotline set up in the aftermath of the attack. Call if you need a shoulder to lean on: 407-227-1446.
The Trevor Project Hotline is always available for LGBTQ youth, and is open to anyone in need of support at this time. You can call them at 866-488-7386.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is here to help. Just call: 800-273-8255.
The National GLBT Center has a national hotline, a youth talk-line and an online peer-support chat. For the national hotline, dial 888-843-4564.
Locate A Missing Loved One
Facebook has set up a check-in page for those who live in the area, so they can tell loved ones the world over whether they are safe. You can also call the Orlando Mass Shooting Family Hotline at 407-246-4357 if you still haven’t located someone who may have been at the Pulse nightclub on Sunday.
If your loved one was near the shooting and is still missing, dial 407-246-4357.
Support Nonprofits Helping Victims’ Pets
Organizations in Orlando have stepped up to help care for the pets of the shooting victims, or of any community members who will be out of the house supporting family and friends. For instance, the Pet Alliance Of Greater Orlando is offering short-term care, or permanent placement, for any pets that have been affected by the shooting. To arrange for pet care with the Alliance, call 407-418-0906.
To see a full list of local organizations who are providing pet care, click here.
CrowdRise has listed a number of ways to help. Donate here or through the widget below.