Charlotte LGBT Community Reacts to Orlando Terrorist Attack

“The largest mass shooting in the history of the United States – there are no words,” said Kimberly Malton, Executive Director of Charlotte Pride.

Sunday morning’s shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida left the LGBT community here in Charlotte speechless.

“A lot of our community is very unsafe and probably today makes them feel even more ostracized for who they are,” said Matt Hirschy, Director of Advancement for Equality North Carolina.

“I go on Saturdays and Sundays sometimes,” said Joshua Watkins, who grew up in charlotte but now lives in Orlando and frequents the Pulse nightclub where fifty victims were killed and just as many injured.  “This was a Saturday I missed [and] it’s a lot to take in.  It really is.”

He just happened to be back in Charlotte visiting during the shooting.  He says many of his friends back in Orland have been texting him all day asking if he was alright.

“One of my closest friends that was a victim there, he had a gunshot wound that was very minor so he’s okay but unfortunately his partner had not made it out of the building and don’t know his where about as of yet.”

Watkins says he isn’t so sure he’s ready to go back.

“I’m a bit afraid of going back, just with memories and really afraid of going anywhere, especially in Orlando.”

As for those in charlotte’s gay and lesbian community, they say they’ll continue to be resilient.

“We’re going to continue to be out, be proud about who we are and who we love,” said Hirschy.

As the president said, we as Americans all have to be resilient and united in this time of unspeakable tragedy.

“It doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation, race, creed, nothing.  I believe when it affects one American it affects us all,” said Watkins.

“We have to continue to love in the face of hate.  We have to keep our heads held high and do the right thing,” said Malton.

Charlotte Latin Pride held a vigil Sunday showing their solidarity.  Bar at 316, a gay establishment in Charlotte, will host a vigil Monday evening.

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