There has been an enormous national and global outpouring of emotion and love for the 49 young LGBT heroes slaughtered in the worst gun massacre in American history, as well as the 53 injured, many of whom lost loved ones and close friends. Out of all the vigils and rallies I have seen reports on, from outside Orlando, London seems to have had the largest attendance, with what seems like many thousands attending a vigil march.
A large group of asylum seekers in London, from several African countries, were quick to deliver their emotional solidarity to the LGBT community of Orlando in response to the massacre. These asylum seekers know the meaning of violence based on their sexual orientation – they have suffered direct persecution, with many having experienced physical violence, just because they are gay. Their unity of purpose and their participation in the solidarity rally, serves to illustrate the horror of the reality, that no matter where in the world LGBT people go, whether resettled through UNHCR or through asylum, LGBT people are not safe. The hate metered out against us by religious ideology, means we can be killed anywhere in the world. Regardless of whether this can be attributed to radical Islamic Jihadist terrorism or not, homophobia and hate for gays was clearly at the forefront of this twisted mass murderer’s mind.
Our prayers, hearts, solidarity and empathy goes to the victims, loved ones, families and friends of the Orlando homophobic terror attack. The attack shows that we still have a long way to go to achieve freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter–sex (LGBTI) people. We must work together to eliminate homophobia and terrorism. We need to get rid of anti–LGBTI laws and change negative attitudes towards LGBTI people, worldwide. What happened in Orlando could happen in any country, including Commonwealth countries. It is scary for me and other members of the African LGBTI organization, Out and Proud Diamond Group to see many lives lost and many others wounded in a country that allows same sex relationship. It is very crucial that we challenge extreme religious teachings that might turn people into defenders of hate, bigotry and discrimination of LGBTI people instead of promoters of tolerance, acceptance and love towards LGBTI people.
Pic: A large group of political figures and officials participate in the vigil for Orlando’s LGBT: (from left to right) The first person in the reflector jacket with jeans is Mark Healey of No to Hate Crime Campaign, next is the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John Mcdonnell, next is Labor party deputy leader Hon. Tom Watson, then Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, next is the US ambassador, Matthew Barzun, next is the Scottish conservative leader, next Labor openly gay MP Chris Bryant.
To see VIDEO, hear London Gay Men’s Choir, the enormity of the crowd take a look on TOWLEROAD SITE
COPYRIGHT ALL PHOTOS ABOVE are the property of Put and Proud Diamond Group
READ ABOUT THE HEROES WHO WERE KILLED: HERE.