Manchester to stand united in face of Orlando hate crime

Published: 13 June 2016 Tags: orlando, hate crime, lgbt By John Walding

In response to the recent shooting in Orlando, Florida, the Manchester community is joining together in solidarity for those whose lives were lost to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) hate.

The Manchester LGBT community and its allies will be gathering tonight in Manchester’s Gay Village at 7pm tonight to hold hands and stand together shoulder to shoulder with the people of Orlando who are mourning for this terrible loss.

This will be followed by a vigil in Sackville Gardens at 8.30pm, where speakers from the city and the community will share their thoughts and commemorate everyone who was sadly murdered at Pulse Nightclub on Saturday.

Key dignitaries from the City, including the Lord Mayor Carl Austin, Counsellor Bev Craig, Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd, Chief Inspector Umer Khan from Greater Manchester Police, Deputy Chair of Sparkle Karen Richards, Councillor Rabnawaz Akbarand from Manchester City Council and LGBT Foundation Deputy Chief Executive Rob Cookson will join Manchester Pride and LGBT Foundation Patron and Coronation Street Actor Antony Cotton. People will also be invited to sign a civic Book of condolence.

At 9.30pm, ex-Coronation Street actress Julie Hesmondhalgh and others will introduce the Manchester Lesbian & Gay Chorus (MLGC), who will sing and send their love in support of Orlando’s LGBT community, their family and friends. This will end with a minute’s silence to reflect and remember those who have been affected by this tragedy.

Manchester’s Town Hall will also be lit in the colours of the LGBT rainbow flag.

Pulse nightclub describes itself as a ‘safe space for the LGBT Latino community’ and the club night on Saturday featured Latino drag queens and trans women on their advertising. It is important to remember that the events that happened in Orlando relate to the wider issue of LGBT hate crime around the world.

The official Pulse Tragedy Community Fund can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/29bubytq

"The barbaric incident in Orlando was an attack on both the members of the LGBT community and their values - which are shared by all right-minded people. In the wake of such devastation we must stand together and show our solidarity for each other... Manchester has a proud history of understanding and diversity and at moments like this we must come together not only to share our sympathies but display how strong and sincere our support for the LGBT community will always remain."
Carl Austin Behan, Lord Mayor of Manchester
"This was an act of terror, an act of hate, and an act of mass murder against the LGBT community of Orlando – and against every LGBT person in the world... As those who have died are named we see bright, smiling faces full of life, full of light, full of love. Our hearts are broken today, but our resolve to stand tall, proud and strong is not. We still face hatred, but turn it to love; we still face intolerance, but turn it to acceptance; we take fear and turn it to hope... Others will try and use this tragedy to further stigmatise the Muslim community. That is not in our name and we repudiate it."
Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation
"Whilst our words cannot begin to heal the pain of those affected by the appalling tragedy in Orlando, our actions can help to make a change. Today we're calling upon the people of Manchester to come together and share the warmth of our hearts as we reflect and stand together in solidarity to display our commitment to end hate crime."
Mark Fletcher, CEO for Manchester Pride
"Communities in Greater Manchester have been shocked by the barbaric massacre that took place in Orlando at the weekend. We send our thoughts and condolences to those involved and their loved ones. As many leaders in America have said, this was an act of terrorism but also a hate crime. LGBT people were attacked in a place that is meant to represent safety, security and community... People across Greater Manchester will share with our vibrant LGBT community, feelings of sadness and concern following this horrific event. This attack shows that despite the huge gains made for LGBT rights in recent years, homophobia still exists and can have fatal consequences. There is no place for homophobia in our city-region. Along with leaders across Greater Manchester, I will continue to work to bring an end to hate crime in all its forms and build cohesive communities where we can all live our lives free from fear."
Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner, Tony Lloyd

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