SA groups show support for club shooting victims

2016-06-14 11:38
People stand outside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. (AP)

People stand outside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. (AP)

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Pietermaritzburg - South African human rights groups have rallied together to send a unified message of support to victims of the mass shooting in the United States at the weekend.

Various organisations in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in South Africa this week expressed their shock and horror at the “terrible and senseless” killings in Orlando, Florida.

During the early hours of Sunday morning, a gunman opened fire at party-goers at a gay nightclub in Orlando, an incident which left 50 dead and 53 more injured.

In a message of support, Gay SA Radio released a statement that has been endorsed and supported by many LGBTI organisations in the country.

“The killings are disrespectful and show a lack of understanding of all our struggles for a better life for all,” the statement reads. “For too long the rhetoric of hate and mistrust, of condemnation and rejection has been allowed to prosper, and those who perpetuate words of hate should hang their heads in shame today.”

In the statement, the LGBTI community in South Africa also urged national government to speed up the finalisation of the Hate Crimes Bill, which they believe will prevent a similar incident here.

“We are all part of the human race. We will continue to stand proud, supporting our LGBTI family, helping, consoling, and defending if necessary. We will continue and we will persevere, no matter where in the world we are,” the statement reads.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Gay and Lesbian Network director Anthony Waldhausen, whose organisation also endorsed the statement, expressed his concerns after the shooting.

“We condemn this act in the strongest terms and we stand together to support families who have lost their loved ones and also those who are recovering in various hospitals,” Waldhausen said.

“We need to intensify our awareness campaigns in South Africa to try and change the stereotypes and stigmas that still exist surrounding the LGBTI community. We also have hate crime in our country and this needs to stop before we have a similar incident.”

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  orlando  |  shooting  |  florida

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