Photo by Ryan Duffin
After the worst shooting in American history hit Orlando's Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning, LGBT communities and others around the world held vigils for the victims. In New York City, people gathered at the Stonewall Inn, perhaps the most famous American landmark in gay history and still a center of LGBT life in Greenwich Village.
I expected to reach the Stonewall and feel hit by a complete wall of grief and sadness. There was immense despair for the victims and their families. There was anger and confusion. There were emotions that simply could not be qualified by language. But more than anything, there was an incredible blanket of love. The crowd chanted "Less hate!" and that transitioned into a roaring "More Love!" Friends and couples embraced one another. I saw signs that read "We Are Orlando," "Still Here, Still Queer," and "Love Is the Answer." This community recognized the power of camaraderie and the poignancy of love in the face of tragedy.
The vigil last night brought together young members and allies to the community, as well as lifelong activists. "Pulse was not just a gay club, it was a place of solidarity," a man standing on the steps next to the bar told me. He continued, "A gay bar is the first place I learned to be me. A queer club is the first place I saw people that looked like me. A gay bar started a revolution."
The shooter's father told the media that his son was triggered by the sight of two men kissing. Kissing is a sign of love, not hate, and people should not live in fear. My photos are images of queer couples kissing at the vigil.
There will be another vigil rally at the Stone Wall on Monday, June 13, from 6 to 9 PM.
See more photos below: