How You Can Help
The tragic events that happened in Orlando on the early hours of Sunday morning leaving 50 people dead and dozens more injured have caused shock, sadness and outrage across the nation.
As local and federal authorities continue to investigate the attack on innocents and Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, people here in the U.S. and around the world are searching for ways to respond.
Here are five things you can do to show your support and help victims:
1. Donate to the Victims’ Fund
Funds raised on this webpage will be going directly to the victims and families affected by the horrific shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub. Equality Florida is working with local organizations – who are also helping to raise funds – to ensure the money is distributed properly. Click here to donate.
2. Give Blood
The OneBlood center put out an urgent call for blood donations for the Orlando victims on Sunday, and received an overwhelming show of support. Donors were told that blood bank had reached capacity but encouraged to return in the coming days, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
“I’ve been here 13 years and never seen a response like this,” Pat Michaels, a spokesman for OneBlood, told the Sentinel. “The sentiment is understood and appreciated, but it’s a little too much, too soon.”
These are the federal rules on who can donate blood. There is still (sadly) an active ban on gay men who can donate blood.
3. Attend a Vigil or Pride Event
Across the nation, there are numerous vigils taking place to remember the victims of the shooting and to show solidarity. Check your local news outlets for details on the vigils. If your town has not yet had its LGBTQ Pride event, make plans to attend.
This is a powerful way to demonstrate you won’t live in fear and that you stand with the victims.
4. Attend Counseling
The shootings in Orlando can cause many to have deep and profound psychological reactions. Some people need counseling to help cope with what they are feeling. If you live in the Orlando area, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center of Central Florida asked counselors from the Orlando area to come in and help field phone calls on a hotline, the Sentinel reports. Those who would like to speak to a counselor can call 1-407-228-1446.
If you do not live in Orlando but feel you need counseling because the tragedy has triggered something with you emotionally, visit Psychology Today online and look for a therapist in your area who specializes in grief and loss. Pass this information along to someone you know who may benefit.
5. Be There for Others
If you have friends or family members who are LGBTQ, now is the time to reach out to them to let them know you care. Even a quick email to say hello and let them know you stand with them during this time of great sadness can be helpful to them.
Be mindful of friends who are overcome with grief. Take time to listen to them.