Out Leadership statement on the Pulse Nightclub Massacre

Today the global LGBT community stands united in solidarity with our allies, horrified at the massacre perpetrated against our community yesterday in Orlando. I know that I speak for every member of the Out Leadership team when I say that we are heartbroken.

Last June in the U.S., our community gathered at Stonewall, and in cities across the country, in celebration. This year, we gather in sorrow – to say the names of the victims, and to express ourselves against the systems that contributed to their suffering and death, including homophobia, religious persecution, and violence.

It is worth noting that Stonewall – undoubtedly one of the global LGBT community’s most resonant landmarks – is not just a symbol of liberation. It’s also a bar – a place of business where people gather to be themselves, to meet friends, to dance, to sing, to be free. Pulse wasn’t just a nightclub – it was a center of community, a place where people belonged, a sanctuary for people who might not have known safety even in their own homes.

This is not the first time this year that innocent people have been murdered for having the audacity to enjoy themselves in public.

Yesterday’s attack hurts for endless reasons, but central among them is that it struck at the heart of our people’s experience of freedom. People who walk into LGBT spaces do so expecting to find a space safe from the judgment of the world at large. Every member of our movement – regardless of orientation or identity – is working to live in an open and free society, where everyone is safe to be themselves without fear.

We are humbled by the outpouring of support and solidarity from our friends, families, and colleagues at our member companies, both in here and around the world. As we all struggle for words, I encourage you to read the many eloquent and heartfelt statements from our partners and peers including: the Anti-Violence Project, Human Rights CampaignImmigration Equality, Startout,  LeGaLLambda LegalNCLRGLAD, GLAAD, GLSEN.

Orlando is a reminder that complacency has no place in our movement – that no one is safe until everyone’s safe. As we mourn, we also begin to prepare to apply ourselves with a renewed resolution to the work of equality for all.

In sorrow and solidarity,

Todd Sears