Five Years Since Pulse, Equality Florida Calls To #HonorThemWithAction Amidst Backlash Against LGBTQ Floridians
Orlando, FL - Tomorrow the nation will mark 5 years since the tragic shooting at Pulse Nightclub that left 49 mostly LGBTQ people of color dead. The remembrance comes amidst unprecedented backlash against LGBTQ Floridians led by Governor Ron DeSantis.
“Governor Ron DeSantis and GOP leaders have shown their true colors — from putting a target on the backs of transgender and nonbinary kids by signing the first anti-LGBTQ bill in 24 years to vetoing all LGBTQ program-specific funding from the state budget,” said Brandon Wolf, Pulse nightclub shooting survivor and Media Relations Manager for Equality Florida. “These acts of cruelty were timed intentionally as we marked the beginning of Pride Month, just days before the world commemorates five years since Pulse. We won’t forget this. And we renew our commitment to the 49 victims of Pulse to honor them with action by fighting back against the same type of anti-LGBTQ hatred and bigotry that leads to violence against our community.”
At a time when hate-motivated violence is on the rise, the callous attacks on the LGBTQ community by lawmakers are aimed at the most vulnerable. On June 1, Governor DeSantis, flanked by aggrieved athletes imported from Connecticut and sponsors of anti-trans legislation that was ultimately tabled due to intense public outcry, signed a ban on trans kids in middle, high school, and college sports. This despite Florida’s established policy regarding transgender sports participation having resulted in zero issues or concerns over 8 years. In an ongoing, far-right culture war, the Governor and lawmakers turned transgender kids, our state’s most vulnerable population, into a political football.
The move was followed by Governor DeSantis’ vetoing of all funding for LGBTQ-specific programming in Florida, including a $150,000 appropriations request for the Orlando United Assistance Center, which provides mental health services for survivors of the shooting at Pulse nightclub, and a $750,000 request for housing support for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. Despite these funds having been approved by the GOP-led legislature, the Governor’s anti-LGBTQ agenda ultimately led to him striking them from the final budget. The slashing of this critical support for the community became just the latest in his assault on the LGBTQ community.
“We have made incredible progress as a movement,” added Wolf. “And now we are seeing the inevitable backlash. We will not allow this Governor’s anti-LGBTQ agenda to put our state’s most vulnerable at greater risk. And the 5 year remembrance of Pulse stands as our reminder of the obligation we have to continue doing whatever we can to protect our community from hate.”
More information on Equality Florida marking 5 years since Pulse can be found at www.honorthemwithaction.org