Orlando's Shots Heard Around The World

Orlando's Shots Heard Around The World

Remembering the Victims of the Orlando Shooting

Five years ago I came out as being gay.

Coming out was one of the scariest things I have ever done. Being openly gay in a world that consistently spews hatred is terrifying. After coming out, I was instantly embraced by the LGBTQ community. I was shown pride, love, and immense acceptance. Tonight, I mourn for the LGBTQ community, who I've come to call my family. Tonight my heart is shattered, my world is shaken. I am still trying to swallow this truth. Tonight I mourn, but I refuse to look away.

At approximately 2:00 am on Sunday, June 12, 2016, twenty-nine year old American-born Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse Night Club and opened fire with a loaded assault rifle and pistol. The Pulse was known as a "Lifeline for Florida's LGBTQ community", providing a safe place to be open, free, and have a good time. This place of refuge from the difficulties of every day life was torn apart by gun violence. Fifty innocent lives have been taken, and at least fifty more are currently in critical condition. The number of lives that this tragedy will take is innumerable.

This is not about the shooter. This is about the strength of the LGBTQ community to consistently stand up in the face of tragedy and choose to spread love. This love is stronger than any bullet and any gun.

Since same-sex marriage was declared a national freedom in 2015, many believe that the LGBTQ community is finally equal. We can marry our partners, but we continue to live in fear that they will be taken away by senseless acts of violence. While laws may have changed, hatred and discrimination are still extremely prevalent. When you pair deeply-rooted sexual orientation discrimination with high-caliber assault weapons we see what we have seen today in Orlando: devastation. We are not fully free, we are not fully equal. We still live in fear of hate crimes and violence. We still live in fear.

Despite this, what I have learned from being a part of the LGBTQ community is that hatred is not stronger than love. Love always wins, love always hopes. We must not ever let our fears and their cruelty deter our pride. We must never allow them to penetrate our joy. We must show hope, pride, courage, and love in the face of great adversity- in the face of great pain.

The words of Anne Frank are used often in times of great loss, but I still believe them to be true. "In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart." There is too much pride and love in this world to be overcome by hate.

We must celebrate the beautiful, courageous lives of those who we lost, of those who are still fighting, and of those whose spirits are currently broken and finding repair. It is incredibly difficult to know that the worst mass shooting in American history was targeted towards a community based on love and acceptance. However, if ANY group of people is able to continue in the face of incredible strife- it is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

The shots of the gunman were heard around the world- and the world is responding with an outpouring of love and knowledge that OUR FIGHT IS NOT OVER. We will continue to fight until discrimination and hatred over simply being free and expressing love is abolished.

Love cannot be killed. Love always wins. Never will the fallen be forgotten.

The following are the names and photographs of known, identified victims. This list will be updated as more information continues to come out.

In Memory


Stanley Manolo Almodovar III. 23. Pharmacy Technician from Springfield, MA.


Edward Sotomayor Jr. 34. National Brand Manager of Al and Chuck Travel Company.

Juan Ramon Guerrero. 22 years old.

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera. 36. Originally from Puerto Rico.

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz. Originally from Benoni, South Africa. Worked for UPS.

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo. 20. Loved to dance.


Luis Vielma. 22 years old.

Kimberly "KJ" Morris. 37. Originally from Connecticut, living in Orlando.

If you wish to help support the victims of this attack- here's what you can do:

1. Donate blood - NO ONE WILL BE TURNED AWAY!


2. Donate Funds- Click here to donate

3. Volunteer with Organizations- The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center of Central Florida, The New York City Anti-Violence Project, Trevor Project

4. Advocate Against Gun Violence -

5. Reach out to your friends, family, and loved ones in the LGBTQ community- Stay safe. Take the time to care for your mental health and physical well being in this time of great, great sorrow.

"And all they know of hate, is that it couldn't beat the love out of me" - Andrea Gibson




Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

Popular Right Now

He Changed Everything.

My soul is richer & my heart is fuller 

Sept 2013 I found myself writing to an evangelist Jennifer Beckham looking for more, looking for answers cause at the time I was in a dark place, and stuck no matter what I did. She wrote back! I cried as I read her respond. She sent me scriptures of who god is and what he wants for us. God says we are more than conquers and endurance develops strength and character. She encouraged me that I was on the right track. Not to give up and she would be praying for me. I saw Jennifer Beckham at a conference that year. I don't remember what she specifically talked about but I remember the feeling. The feeling of wanting to burst out crying, I could feel my eyes being filled with tears, and my heart racing but I wouldn't let out the tears. My pride was too big. I wanted to be strong so I did my best to hold it all in, and I did. At this conference they offered the audience who wanted to go up for prayer and dedicate their life to Jesus Christ. Surprisingly I went up, but I went up with other people that were seeking out salvation. I wasn’t sure if I was going up to support the other people or if it was truly for me. I was confused, even though I said the prayer. I became more confused as the days went on and I wasn't feeling a difference in my life. Nothing was changing. I started reading the bible and many books, listening to sermons, and surrounding myself with positive people. I gave my life to Jesus, but I didn't feel like I was set FREE! I continued feeling empty, lost, broken, guilty, and hurt from the past. There were so many days where I just wanted to give up. Almost felt pointless to fight for my life. At this point in my life I didn't know God very much, but I had just a little bit of faith. My faith was a big as a mustard seed and God took care of the rest. Day by day, year by year I started noticing my life changing. I noticed I was changing. I started feeling happy with who I was and where I was in life. I no longer questioned God about the things that happened to me. In my heart I was ok with the wounds, the hardships, and trials from the past because I now understood those wounds and trials. I realized I was SET FREE! not perfect but set free. I started understanding who I was as a child of our heavenly father. Now it’s Jan 2018 and I’m in awe of who I am and where I am in life, all because of Jesus. His so faithful! I think of the favor, the grace, his mercy, his love, his joy and blessing that he gives me even when I’m undeserving of it, it’s overwhelming. He has never left me nor forsake me. I can say Jesus you changed everything and my heart so forever thankful. 

Today, I encourage you like Jennifer Beckham encouraged me. Keep going and don't give up. No matter what your past looks like believe in your heart that you were created for greatness. Don't let your past determine your future, be the change you want in your life. You have it in you. There is so much more to life, don't miss out on it. It's time to take back your happiness, love, joy, freedom and so much more. It's time to take back EVERYTHING the enemy has taken from you. God has made you an overcomer. I speak it right now, that you will be victorious in 2018 and the years to come. Remember, God loves you! 

Psalm 136:26 (AMP) O give thanks to the God of heaven, for his mercy and loving-kindness endures forever!

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Oprah Winfrey Running For President?

Golden Globe speech sparking some ideas.

As of Sunday, January 7, 2018, Oprah Winfrey made a few remarks during her Golden Globe speech, hinting to her possibly running for president in 2020. Later, two of her friends, who wish to remain anonymous confirm this speculation. One of the friends said that this idea has been looming for months now but that Winfrey did not come to a conscience yet.

The main point of Winfrey's speech at the Golden Globes was the #MeToo movement. She also made a statement of, "A new day is on the horizon", which many liberal celebrities and viewers heard as a possible campaign cry.

At the moment, there is no serious talk right now about her running for president, but some of her fans have voiced their opinions through Twitter and Facebook after she had her speech. Along with her fans, her long time partner, Stedman Graham also mentioned that her running for president was a possibility

However what Winfrey does not have is political experience. When she needs political advice she looks to the Obamas and she fully endorsed Hillary Clinton. We may have our next Democratic candidate for the 2020 election. Although the race for president does not start until after the 2018 midterms, many candidates are getting a head start. Maybe this is her making her first move. What do you think? Will America choose another TV star as our president?

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

Related Content

Facebook Comments