Today, I rise heartbroken, angry and utterly disgusted by what transpired in Orlando this weekend.
Here we are again; with another adjourn in memory and another tragic story of a massacre as we mourn and pay homage to the victims of senseless gun violence and hate.
This time the victims were not children, or coworkers or students on a campus, they were members of my community.
50 lives were lost. 50 families were forever changed. 50 young people who were in an otherwise safe place were ruthlessly gunned down simply for living their truths – out and proud. And 53 others are seriously injured, some fighting for their lives as we speak.
This weekend has been one of reflection, sadly concluding in my realization that as gay people we are not safe, even in our own country. At any moment Senator Leno, Senator Galgiani or I could be targeted and murdered simply for being who we are.
It was Latino Night at PULSE. The people targeted that night were a minority within a minority, who were still struggling to find their identity within mainstream culture.
LGBT Latinos are a minority that continue to fight racism and homophobia within our own ethnic culture as we struggle for our rightful place within the larger movement for equality.
As someone who personally lives this struggle every day, I can’t help but to feel a profound personal loss.
What began as a night of commemoration and celebration of LGBT Pride Month, which so many fought bravely and died to attain, now becomes the bloodiest and one of the saddest days in US history.
There are no words, no hashtags, no speech that can change what happened. Instead, we can just pray for those murdered and for their families.
Moving forward, June will be a somber reminder of the challenges that still confront our LGBT community as we attempt to live as proud Americans. But it will also be a reminder of all that we have overcome and will continue to overcome.
We are a community that has endured decades of hate, intolerance and, violence. But we are a strong people. We have broken down so many barriers to love openly and earn our place in this country.
Today is a tragic reminder of the evil that exists in the world, now a part of our collective LGBT story that will never be forgotten and only reinforce our resolve.
Our struggle against hate, intolerance and violence cannot succeed unless we all stand together.
Para nuestra comunidad LGBT latina, hoy estamos de luto, dando un homenaje a las victimas de Orlando. Este tragedia, no va a dirigir quien somos como comunidad. Vamos a superar a este tragedia, y vamos a demonstrar al mundo que somos una comunidad humilde, una comunidad unida, y una comunidad fuerte. Que dios bendiga a las almas que hemos perdido en Orlando, y que bendiga sus familias.