Saturday, May 18, 2024

Gay Latino Community Seeks to Strengthen One Year After Pulse Nightclub Shootings

In the year following the Orlando shootings at Pulse nightclub, the men and others affected by the shootings have sought to strengthen their wounded community by forming supports groups and community organizations, seeking out seats at the tables of power, and creating a foundation to champion gays and Latinos. Prior to the shootings, many gay Latinos in Orlando had endured indignities, rejection or violence as a result of their sexual orientation.

“There’s no question that the tragedy at Pulse has created an entire new generation of grassroots leaders who are young, who are queer, people of color, who want to make a difference and affect change,” said Smith, who was elected to Florida’s Legislature last fall.

The Pulse shootings highlighted the gulf between gay people of color and other gays. While Orlando’s gay institutions are open to anyone, many Latinos did not use them because of language barriers and the scattered nature of the Orlando Latino communities and concentration of gay life in downtown Orlando.

“In our community, there was an absence of spaces for people who were queer and people of color,” said Christopher Cuevas, who founded the support group QLatinx after the Pulse shooting. Before Pulse, many gay Latinos relied on Latin nights at gay bars to meet each other.

In the aftermath of the shootings, local governments partnered with non-profits to offer mental health services and other assistance to Pulse victims, however the community felt the need to create their own spaces to cater to their needs more closely. The ultimate goal for these new spaces is to create a safe haven for all members of the LGBTQ community.

U.S. News