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Like so many others throughout the US and the rest of the world, we’re heartbroken over the events that played out early Sunday morning in Orlando. Yet another city’s name has become synonymous with tragedy.

Violence inflicted upon any person or group of people is horrific regardless of the circumstances, location in the world, or nature of the attack. The shooting in Orlando left us saddened because for many who identify as LGBTQIA, clubs and bars like Pulse make up part of the fabric of the LGBT community along with outreach centers and other friendly gathering places. For those who don’t find acceptance at home, these spaces are sanctuaries and the people in them become like family. This act of violence was carried out during Pride Month when members of the LGBT community and their allies are celebrating together.

These events are a sobering reminder that even in times of sweeping progress for LGBT causes and more visibility than ever, danger still exists and for some communities it is an epidemic. The threat of violence makes a huge impact on the mental health and well-being of LGBT people, and losses to suicide and suicide attempt rates continue to be higher among LGBT populations than those of non-LGBT counterparts.

Let us not allow intolerance and violence towards one group spawn persecution of another. Let us all try every day to bring education and awareness to those who may fear the unfamiliar and unknown. Whether that is fear of a sexuality, gender, religion, culture, race, ethnicity, nationality, or other qualities they may find foreign to their own experience. Ignorance, fear, or intolerance can morph and grow into hatred and violence when fed and nurtured. Knowledge and education can bolster tolerance and acceptance. Most importantly, let’s all love and support one another and recognize that when we all stand together in peace and solidarity, we stand stronger.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

To the LGBT and other helplines around the world, thank you for being the light that drives out darkness for so many people.

For emotional support, information and referral, educational materials, and other ways you can support and help the LGBTQIA community, please explore the resources below.
The Trevor Project
LGBT Youthline
Switchboard LGBT Helpline
Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Lesbian & Gay Switchboard
Gay Switchboard Ireland
Trans Lifeline
It Gets Better Project
Human Rights Campaign
Have a resource to add to this list? Leave us a comment below!

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