We Are Still Here, Strong, and Recommitted

Juan and Drew, a young couple in Orlando who hoped to get married, were murdered at Pulse nightclub on Sunday. Now, instead of a celebration, their families are planning a joint funeral. A gunman filled with hate and intolerance claimed their lives and the lives of 47 other people.

There are absolutely no words to express the sadness we are feeling at the Center this week. We grieve for the LGBTQ, Latino, Queer Latinx, and entire Orlando community. While we have made historic strides in acceptance and equality, this tragedy is a painful reminder of the dangers LGBTQ people continue to face every day.
 
Even in San Francisco, where we enjoy overwhelming support, violence continues to be a part of our daily lives. In 2015 the Center conducted a survey of 400 LGBTQ people living here and found that nearly all of them-85 percent-had experienced some level of violence. The report also found that, within our broad LGBTQ community, those most at risk of violence are transgender individuals, people of color, and low-income people.
 
In particular, violence has reached alarming proportions for the transgender community across the country. In the first five months of this year alone, 14 transgender people have been murdered. And just two nights prior to the tragic events at Pulse, a trans woman in Santa Ana, California, was shot in the back. We are not only fighting for our rights and dignity, we are also fighting for our lives.
 
Our hearts may be heavy, but our resolve is strengthened as we recommit to bringing together the entire community-gays, lesbians, queers, bisexual men and women, transgender individuals-and ensure that we support our most vulnerable members. If you need support in this difficult time, we have listed resources here.  
 
This Pride it is especially important that we stand together and are visible, strong, and proud. Among the many activities in the upcoming weeks are a fundraiser for Orlando organized by Queer Latinx on June 16, and SF Latin Pride on June 17. We also warmly invite you to march with us at SF Pride on June 26. 

If you can, please help the victims and survivors of the attack. Equality Florida and the Center in Orlando have set up fundraising pages with all support going directly to victims and their families.
 
What gives us hope is knowing that our community is resilient and courageous. We have battled injustice, hate, and disease. But nothing knocks us down. Nothing.
 
We are still here, still strong, and always will be.  

 
 
 
Rebecca Rolfe
Executive Director
SF LGBT Center
 

 

Contact Person: 
Alberto R. Lammers: AlbertoL@SFCenter.org