By Cody H. Owens
Our hearts ache deeply for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Our thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones, the officers who heroically diffused the situation, the bystanders, and all of the people involved. When a travesty like this happens within the LGBT community anywhere, we feel it everywhere. It hits close to home, especially for members of our community who have ever felt prejudiced and discriminated against for their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.
Achieving marriage equality for all was a huge step in LGBT rights and history, but this massacre is a reminder that it was only one step of many more to come towards justice. The tragedy in Orlando is heartbreaking proof that our work in promoting acceptance and inclusion has a long road ahead still.
On Sunday June 12th, In reaction to the Orlando shooting, Upstate Pride SC and Gender Benders organized a candlelight vigil at the entrance of Reedy Park in Greenville, SC. See a short video of the event by Chasing Capri and Gender Benders also held a press conference.
By several estimates, there were more than 400 people total in attendance throughout the vigil. The Upstate's outpouring of support and love keeps our organization pushing harder and harder, and many people were able to heal from the togetherness you created. The Upstate Pride SC community is nothing short of amazing. Thank you all.