Responding to the Violence in Orlando

By June 13, 2016Community

During the past few days, Boston’s LGBTQ community and our allies came together with joy and unity to celebrate our strength and pride, and we also joined in our horror and grief over the devastating act of violence targeting members of the LGBTQ community in Orlando, FL.

This unconscionable act of hatred has left many reeling with feelings of heartbreak, anger and vulnerability during a month when we set out to honor and celebrate LGBTQ history, civil rights, visibility and unity. The violence at Pulse nightclub occurred on LGBTQ Latin night where transgender women of color were the headlining entertainers and LGBTQ people of color had gathered for Pride celebrations and to be in community where their identities were validated. The catastrophic scope of the mass shooting that night at Pulse has caused shock for many LGBTQ people and allies across the country, as we despair over the extensive loss of life and the severity of suffering by survivors and loved ones. For some, this is was not only a horrifying event, but also a continuation of the hate and violence experienced every day by many members of our community—especially by transgender women of color—that is fueled by homophobia, transphobia and racism.

The Violence Recovery Program invites Boston’s LGBTQ and allied communities to join us in addressing the issues of hate and oppression that fundamentally underlie the violence in Florida this weekend and that continually motivate violence and discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community daily. We acknowledge that all of us are not only affected by the devastation of the weekend’s events, but we are also responsible to take a collective stance for justice across issues of sexual orientation, gender identity, race and religion in order to create true safety and freedom for all LGBTQ people.

If you or someone you know are experiencing distress at this time, you are encouraged to seek support. Reach out to friends, colleagues, supervisors, therapists or a hotline to talk about the ways that you have been affected. Encourage others to do the same. The Violence Recovery Program may be a resource to you or someone you know who has experienced anti-LGBTQ violence. Call the Violence Recovery Program Intake Line for more information at 617.927.6250.  For 24-hour support, call the New York City Anti-Violence Program’s hotline (in English and Spanish), at 212.714.1141.

Cara Presley, LICSW

Manager of the Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health

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