Tears for clubbers killed in Orlando
Councillor leads tributes from LGBT community
A Rutherglen councillor has admitted he wept when he learned of the 49 people gunned down in a popular gay bar in Orlando.
Gerard Killen, a member of the LGBT community, is one of many community leaders who have spoken out at the horror of the weekend’s events which saw Omar Mateen open fire at gay night club Pulse.
Forty nine people were killed and 53 injured in what was the worst mass shooting in American history.
In a letter to the Reformer following the tragedy, Councillor Killen said: “I imagined what it must have been like, the fear they must have felt when they realised what was happening. I wept at the cruelty of people going about their lives, people dancing and laughing in their safe place, murdered because of who they are and who they love.”
Stewart McDonald, MP for Castlemilk and Croftfoot, and member of the LGBT community, said: “A gunman entered our little world of cabaret and fun, and delivered the most haunting reminder that our equality, our safety and our very right to be ourselves is on fragile foundations.
“The aim of people like Mateen is that someone somewhere who has struggled with their identity will now think it too risky to come out and be themselves. That keeping it quiet and to not be yourself is the better, safer thing to do.”
But young members of Stewart’s Castlemilk constituency have shown they will continue to stand tall.
Castlemilk Youth Complex’s LGBT group was amongst the hundreds of people who turned out to the vigil in Glasgow’s George Square on Monday night with Glasgow City Provost Sadie Docherty.
Chris Lang, who leads the group, said he wanted the vigil to show the young people that they did not have to be fearful of being themselves.
He said: “These things make you think twice, do I want to be myself today in case someone has something to say about it? At 16 to 18 that’s the age when you need to feel like you are who you want to be,
“It was great when we were in George Square, they saw other people were there being themselves, they realised we are safe here and that’s what I wanted them to feel, part of the community.”
Another young man vocal in his support for the LGBT community is Conservative Party member Taylor Muir. The former Stonelaw High School pupil, was at the Gay Pride parade in Rome just hours before the Orlando atrocity took place.
Speaking on Facebook he said: “You won’t defeat us, we will never ever change, or relent or submit to your despicable ideology. Solidarity with Orlando, with Paris, with Ankara, with the LGBT community and with everyone who stands with us against hatred, intolerance and murder. Love is love.”
Pride Members of Castlemilk Youth Complex’s LGBT group with Glasgow Provost Sadie Docherty at a vigil for the Orlando victims