LGBT community offers support, services in wake of mass shooting at Florida gay bar

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Photo via Ludovic Bertron/Wikimedia (CC-BY)

The Pulse club shooting is a tragic meeting between America's problems with gun violence and homophobia.

In the hours following Sunday morning's devastating mass shooting at Florida gay club Pulse, the LGBT community is responding with an outpouring of grief, rage, and support for survivors.

While the FBI has not confirmed the shooter's motive, many people are interpreting the attack as a homophobic hate crime. Speaking to local news, Orlando LGBT Center director Terry DeCarlo described the mass shooting as "an attack on the LGBT community."

The Pulse shooting is a tragic meeting point between America's long history of homophobia, and the nation's ongoing struggle with gun violence. Along with demands for better gun control laws, LGBT celebrities and activists are asking people to respect Pulse's status as a gay bar, rather than simply referring to it as a popular nightclub—as the New York Times did in its original report.

This may be one of the deadliest attacks on an LGBT space since the Upstairs Lounge arson attack in 1973, when a New Orleans gay bar was set on fire, killing 32 people.

June is Pride Month in the U.S., making this a particularly devastating blow. People are already sharing ways to support those affected by the shooting, such as donating blood, or donating money to Orlando's LGBT Center or the LGBT youth support organization Zebra Coalition. The LGBT center is also offering counseling services to locals.
Celebrities, activists, and allies have continued to speak out throughout Sunday, offering words of support and condolences for all affected by the tragedy.

Update 2:51pm CT, June 12: Additional LGBT organizations have issued public statement, including the Trans United Fund, Equality Florida, and National LGBTQ Task Force.

National LGBTQ Task Force

Trans United Fund

Crowdrise has additionally launched a fundraising campaign to benefit those injured in the shooting as well as the families of those who passed away. "Monies raised through this fundraiser will go towards helping with medicals bills and the funeral costs of the victims," the We Stand With Pulse fund reads.
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49 dead in mass shooting at Florida nightclub
In one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history, 49 people have been killed and 53 have been injured at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Pulse is one of Orlando's most popular gay clubs and was hosting a Latin-themed night at the time.
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