Tears for club­bers killed in Or­lando

Coun­cil­lor leads trib­utes from LGBT com­mu­nity

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Edel Ke­nealy

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

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