Things That Matter

Four Years Later And The Grief Of The Pulse Nightclub Shooting Is Still Raw

On June 12, 2016, a terrorist entered Pulse Nightclub with an automatic rifle. The gunman killed 49 people as they danced and celebrated life with friends and family. Four years later, the community continues to mourn the tragic loss of life during Pride Month.

It has been four years since the Pulse Nightclub shooting and the pain is still there for many.

The attack was a devastating reminder of the brutality still plaguing the LGBTQ+ community. The global LGBTQ+ community collectively grieved over the shooting and the loss of life. It struck fear into the hearts of LGBTQ+ people and their loved ones. It has been four years and that pain and fear still exist as the community continues to find ways forward.

The immediate action from the LGBTQ+ community was to join the growing battle against gun violence in the U.S.

“I remember dancing. I remember Juan’s goofy laugh. Drew’s long, gangly arm around my should as he said, ‘I wish we said I love you more.’ I remember we accidentally wore matching outfits and before I knew it it was 2 a.m.,” Brandon Wolf, a Pulse survivor said to Congress in 2019. “I can remember cold water from the faucet, a plastic cup teetering on the edge of the sink. I remember gunshots. Confusion. The rancid stench of blood and smoke. I remember the hair standing up on the back of my neck; my heart pounding as I crouched on the bathroom floor. I remember the face of terror on the faces of those people trapped in there with me; a panicked sprint to an open door. And I swear I can still hear every one of the 110 rounds that man pumped into the club.”

Wolf continues by talking about the confusion and desperation after as he tried to find his friends. How he had to call Juan’s family to let them know that he was dead. He talks about seeing his two best friends in caskets as a final reminder of the horrible nightmare he was living. Wolf then takes aim at the public health epidemic of gun violence that is devastated the country.

The Pulse survivor further called out President Donald Trump for emboldening this hate in America. Rather than unite the country to go together, Wolf argues that Trump has allowed for this kind of hate to go unimpeded and the ready access to guns has made this hate deadly.

People are sharing their stories and heartbreak on social media remembering the shooting.

Pulse Nightclub was an institution in Orlando for the LGBTQ+ community. Famous drag queens like Cynthia Lee Fontaine and Ginger Minj who live in Orlando have performed there. They have spoken of their own experience of hearing the news and trying to find out if their friends are okay.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is calling for greater protection for LGBTQ+ people.

“Four years ago, as members of the LGBTQ+ community were gathered together for Latin Night at Pulse nightclub during Pride Month, a terrorist armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire,” reads a statement from Biden. “He killed 49 innocent people and injured many more — at the time, the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman. And still today, it remains the deadliest attack on the LGBTQ+ community in American history.”

“The inaction of Republican lawmakers to address the scourge of gun violence in America is unacceptable,” Biden wrote. “As President, I will continue standing with you to build a more equal, more inclusive United States, where every member of the LGBTQ+ community is safe and respected.”

The Pulse shooting is a reminder every Pride Month of the battle the LGBTQ+ community still fights.

Hate took 49 people away from their friends and families. It was and continues to be a hard moment for the LGBTQ+ community, especially the Latino LGBTQ+ community.

Continue to rest easy, angels.

Your lives will never be forgotten. We love you. We miss you. We will continue to fight for a world safe and free fro LGBTQ+ people.

READ: Remembering The Victims Of The Orlando Shooting, Many Of Whom Were Latino

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More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

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More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

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Trans rights are under siege in over half of the United States this year, as 28 states have proposed one or more anti-trans bills. The bills range from banning trans children from playing on sports teams to prohibiting doctors from giving trans youth life-saving care. 

Despite winning the White House and both houses of Congress, we cannot grow complacent. Now is the time for others from the LGBTQ community and allies to stand up and protect our trans brothers and sisters.

At least 28 states have proposed anti-trans legislation that could severely harm the community.

Less than three months into the new year, Republican lawmakers have already introduced a record number of anti-trans bills across the country.

According to a report published Monday by Axios, at least 73 pieces of legislation have already been put forward in state legislatures targeting members of the transgender community. Of those proposals, 65 specifically single out trans youth, such as bills prohibiting the kinds of medical care doctors can offer trans minors and others seeking to limit the participation of trans student athletes in school sports. 

Notable examples include legislative efforts by South Dakota and Mississippi, both of which passed bills in the past week blocking trans girls from competing in school athletics in accordance with their gender identity. After being approved by their respective Houses and Senates, their governors have vowed to sign them.

These would be the first bills of their kind to become law in the U.S. after numerous attempts to pass anti-trans sports bills in previous years. In 2019, a bill targeting trans student athletes failed in the South Dakota House by just one vote.

LGBTQ+ advocates are warning that the influx of this type of legislation will harm trans and nonbinary youth.

Trans advocates and experts argue that bills like this do not protect young trans people, and recent studies support this. In February, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report which argued that banning the trans community from certain sports programs would deprive an entire group of people of the benefits of athletics, including lower risks of depression, anxiety, and drug use. Despite so many states introducing legislation targeting trans youth in sports, the report also found that the argument of an “unfair advantage” does not actually hold up to data-driven scrutiny.

“This has been a significant part of my work at the ACLU for the past six years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, told CNN. “There have never been this many bills targeting trans youth voted out of committee and then making it to the floor.”

There is widespread opposition to anti-trans bills, and not just from LGBTQ+ civil rights groups. More than 55 major corporations have endorsed a statement against these bills and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in general; they include Facebook, Pfizer, Microsoft, AT&T, Apple, Dell, American Airlines, and many more. Nearly 550 college athletes have signed a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association demanding that championship games be pulled from states that have anti-trans sports laws or are close to enacting them. More than 1,000 child welfare groups have taken a stand against legislation that would keep trans youth out of school sports or deny them health care.

States that enact anti-LGBTQ+ legislation often experience boycotts, as was the case with North Carolina and its anti-trans “bathroom bill” in 2016 and Indiana with its discriminatory religious freedom law in 2015. The former has now been repealed, the latter amended.

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2021 Is Set To Be The Deadliest Year Ever For The Trans Community As Yet Another Trans Woman Is Murdered

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2021 Is Set To Be The Deadliest Year Ever For The Trans Community As Yet Another Trans Woman Is Murdered

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LGBTQ+ activists say that violence against the transgender community in 2021 is outpacing last year’s record number of anti-trans homicides. Few communities are facing a crisis of life and death as severe as the country’s transgender community. It’s only March and there have already been at least nine transgender victims so far this year, which is more than during the same period in 2020 which was the deadliest year on record for the community. 

The nation’s trans community is under attack.

According to the National Black Justice Coalition, at least four times more trans people have been killed this year than by the same point in 2020. By the end of last February, two trans people had been murdered in the United States. In contrast, at least eight individuals have already lost their lives in 2021, with five murders in January alone.

The National Black Justice Coalition, a national LGBTQ+ civil rights group that tracks anti-trans violence, said the above total may not even reflect the total number of trans homicides in 2021.

“We live in a society that ranks human value according to a hierarchy of bodies and identities, where disposability radiates outward as a person’s distance from the hegemonic ideal increases,” NBJC Executive Director David Johns told them., adding that these victims were “targeted because their identities place them far away from privilege and the social structures that uphold this complex, compound oppression and ultimately place them in disproportionate danger.”

2021 is set to be the deadliest year on record if the violence doesn’t end. 

Should the year continue at its current pace, advocates worry that 2021 would far surpass last year’s historic level of anti-trans homicides. Forty-four transgender people lost their lives to violence in 2020, but these early totals put the United States on track for an astounding 176 murders. That total is unlikely when no year prior to 2020 had seen more than 30 recorded trans homicides, per Human Rights Campaign data. But even if the next 10 months averaged four murders each month, 2021 would still become the deadliest year on record for anti-trans violence, counting 48 deaths.

Neither of these figures factor in deaths that are believed by local community members to be homicides but not officially declared as such, like the mysterious passing of 19-year-old Tatianna Hall in Philadelphia last year.

Whatever the end total may be, HRC’s Tori Cooper claims that the community has “already lost too many transgender people to fatal violence” this year.

The latest victim is Chyna Carrilo who was killed in Pennsylvania last month.

Chyna Carrillo, 24, a trans Latinx woman, was murdered in Wilmington, Pennsylvania in February. According to a report in the New Castle News, Carrillo was brutally beaten to death with a blunt object by Juan Carter Hernandez, 33, a military deserter recently released from prison where he was serving eight to 10 years for the murder of his wife in 2011. 

Carrillo, who was also known as Chyna Cardena had recently moved to New Wilmington from Arkansas with the hope of starting a new life. She was employed as a certified nursing assistant at The Grove at New Wilmington, a skilled nursing facility. Her murder took place in a house next to the Grove.

Friends and family have been left devastated by the news. All remember her as a warm and outgoing woman who touched their lives and will be sorely missed.

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