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An open letter from LGBT Community Centers on the Orlando shooting:

Our hearts break for the LGBT community in Orlando and for the families, friends, and loved ones of those who were killed. While we are still learning many facts about the shooting, one thing is clear: this attack targeted LGBT people, particularly the many LGBT Latinx people attending Latin night at the Pulse nightclub. As community center leaders, we see the vast work that remains to eliminate homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, racism, and many other forms of bigotry from our communities; after Sunday, what is visible every day to us has now become clear to all.

LGBT bars were the original community centers; they were often the place where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people could be themselves, find support, and meet other like-minded people. For over four decades LGBT community centers have been dedicated to creating safe spaces where people find sanctuary from hostility and find acceptance not available to them elsewhere. Like Pulse, LGBT community centers are places where people gather and build families of love.

June marks LGBT Pride Month. LGBT community centers across the country are hosting pride festivals, parades, and events to celebrate our history and the progress that we have made. In times of tragedy the LGBT community has always come together to show its resilience. We see this resilience now as we gather for local vigils, raise funds for the survivors, and renew our commitments to visibly demonstrate the many facets of our community pride.

Now more than ever we must raise our voices and be heard.

We as the community of LGBT centers denounce any attempts to scapegoat the Muslim community. As with LGBT people, Muslims have experienced hate based violence, stereotyping, and bigotry. We stand with our Muslim friends and allies in calling for an end to this intolerance. We appreciate the outpouring of support from Muslim leaders and are working hard to support the many LGBT Muslims struggling to heal from this tragedy.

We as the community of LGBT centers call for our communities, our allies, and our friends to demand action to hold our elected officials accountable for passing laws that limit access to assault weapons. We must make a decision about whether we want to be a country that is content with mass shootings becoming commonplace. LGBT people will always be at risk as long as bigots have easy access to assault weapons.

We as the community of LGBT centers demand that politicians and religious leaders stop spewing their hateful rhetoric and justifying their words with ignorance or religious verse. Your words cause harm. We will not stand by quietly when you whisper, shout, or legislate your hate. In response you will hear our shouts of condemnation for your actions, and our shouts of love and support for our LGBT family.

We will continue to serve our communities in good times and in bad. We will continue to stand strong. We will continue to build love and acceptance. With the support of our allies and fair-minded people from around the globe, we will win full equality for LGBT people, everywhere and forever.

In Pride,

 

Arcus Foundation

Believe Out Loud

BiNet USA

Bisexual Resource Center

Center for Black Equity, Inc.

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

The Council for Global Equality

Courage Campaign

Equality Federation

Family Equality Council

Freedom for All Americans

Freedom to Work

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)

Gay Men’s Health Crisis

The Gill Foundation

GLAAD

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality

GLSEN

Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network

The Harvey Milk Foundation

Human Rights Campaign

interACT: Advocates for Intersex Youth

The Johnson Family Foundation

Lesbian Health Initiative (LHI) 

Lambda Legal

MAP

Marriage Equality USA

Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity

National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs

National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Council of La Raza

National LGBTQ Task Force

National Minority Aids Council (NMAC)

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance

The New York City Anti-Violence Project

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

OutRight Action International

The Palette Fund

PFLAG National

Pride at Work

Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)

Southerners on New Ground (SONG)

SpeakOUT Boston

The T*Circle Collective

Tarab NYC

Transgender Education Network of Texas

Trans People of Color Coalition

Transgender Law Center

The Trevor Project

The Williams Institute

 

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