The gay, lesbian and transgender community has seen violence before, from Harvey Milk to Matthew Shepard, and an ever-lengthening list of transgender women. But never anything like this.
Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, grimly changed the equation, stirring communal fears and swiftly prompting tighter security at gay pride events. The gunman, identified as Omar Mateen of Fort Pierce, Florida, told his father he had been disturbed by seeing two men kissing in Miami.
The attack on the Pulse nightclub, which killed at least 50 people and was the deadliest U.S. mass shooting to date, occurred amid numerous events nationwide celebrating LGBT Pride Month. In several other cities hosting events on Sunday — including block parties in Boston and a festival in Washington — authorities beefed up the police presence.
This “is a tragic illustration of the legitimate safety fears that those in our LGBT community live with every day,” said Mike Rawlings, the mayor of Dallas, where extra police were assigned to a neighborhood that is a hub of the local gay community.
Click here to read more on how Orlando massacre spurs grief and fear for LGBT Americans.