A gunman opened opened fire at a crowded gay nightclub in Orlando leaving dozens hurt, 50 dead, and the world horrified and angered. We are mourning the loss of friends and sending their families our heartfelt sympathy.
Here’s how you can help the victims:
The OneBlood center put out an urgent call for blood for Orlando victims. Blood levels may be at capacity on Sunday but donors were told to return in the coming days.
This has been called the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
Equality Florida set up a donation page on GoFundMe to support the victims. The fund has raised more than $120,000 from more than 3,000 donors since being set up to go to victims.
Attend a Vigil
Vigils were planned in major cities across the country. Locate vigils for Orlando here.
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Central Florida asked counselors from the Orlando area to field phones. You can call 1-407-228-1446. If you're not local to Florida you can reach out to your local LGBT center to find ways to be involved going forward.
Contact your local representatives and urge them to take action on gun safety measures
Any night, gay or straight, our friends spend time with their community dancing in packed clubs. Sometimes it is to celebrate Pride; sometimes it could be for a bachelorette party. These celebrations sometime take place with the threat of prejudice and fear. Gun violence is a fixable threat. The need and utility for assault weapons and high-capacity magazines seems so small in scale compared to the unspeakable violence enabled those weapons and by laws that make them readily available. This violence hasn't been exclusive to targeting LGBT and nor should the response be--let's make everyone safer together.
Do anything you can to promote LGBT equality.
Hate is a sickness that can't be overcome easily, but it can be overcome. Reports claim the attacker was reacting to two gay men kissing . Bigotry toward even expressions of love is tough.
Let's work on building a life for our children that is free from hate, bullying and violence. Consider being involved or donating toward:
ItGetsBetter Campaign: Everyone deserves to be respected for who they are. Pledge to spread this message to your friends, family and neighbors. Pledge to speak up against hate and intolerance whenever you see it, at school and at work. That you will provide hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other bullied teens by letting them know that it gets better.
If you are religious, open a dialogue with your greater religious organization or body around accepting and affirming LGBT. From Methodists to other churches you can find a movement of understanding and love. Global list of Churches, Lutherans, Catholics, etc.
Parents, allies, and even friends can join PFLAG - Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
PFLAG was founded as a support group for parents of gays. It is now so much more while still supporting parents who struggle to accept or empower their gay children. PFLAG is a leading advocacy organization for LGBT rights. You can find over 500 local chapters as well as support the national organization.