Yesterday evening, CCCq- Canterbury Christ Church University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer and intersex staff network organised a Vigil in memory of those murdered in Orlando on 13th of June. The event was held at the University Chapel, and supported by the university chaplaincy and senior management team. We heard from staff and students and lit candles in memory of those we lost.
As the global LGBTQi community are in mourning for 49 of its family who were murdered, we extend our sympathy to their friends and their families and keep all of those who were injured and affected in our thoughts. We stand in solidarity with our global Queer family and remember that the 49 people massacred add to an ever growing number of people who are killed because of hatred and intolerance towards our community, because of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia.
In the aftermath of this attack we have seen so much erasure of the LGBTQi community. Those in the media, church and political leaders, claiming that ‘these could have been any night club goers’, blaming this attack on religion, on global terrorism and contributing to the erasure of the victim’s queer identities. This was a hate crime. These people were murdered because of their sexual and gender identity. Because the society they, and we live in, is one of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. Those who discriminate against us, who bully the children of our community in schools, who do not protect us when we are vulnerable, who laugh at us, who deny us rights, they are all complicit with these murders.
We did not offer a book of condolences because where would we send it? These things usually are sent to some dignitary, head of state, mayor, governor. In Florida, where this awful attack happened, LGBTQi people can still be fired for their sexual or gender identity without any protection. Those who deny us protection are complicit with these murders.
Before people left, they were asked to take a minute to post on our graffiti wall, which we will share online. over the coming days We will tell the world that Canterbury Christ Church University and the wider community present today stand together, in solidarity ad defiance. Along with our many allies, who with us advocate and fight for liberation, we Stand in Power.
To our family lost in Orlando. To all lost to homophobia, transphobia and biphobia: Rest in Power.