HAGATNA, GUAM, —As a community, we unite in our grief and dismay over the mass shooting targeted at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Orlando. Pulse, is a nightclub where LGBT people living and visiting Orlando frequent and police have reported this shooting as an act of domestic terrorism that has killed over 50 people and injured even more.
Hate-motivated crimes like this have an impact that lingers and extends beyond the specific victims. Certainly here on Guam, LGBT people and their supporters have felt the impact.
Fear and hate drive bias-motivated violence against the LGBT community every day and in every corner of our country. In many places, sexual orientation and gender identity are among the leading motivations for hate crimes, for example trailing only race as a motivation basis for hate crimes in Florida.
When LGBT people are attacked, these hate crimes and violence often go unreported or underreported. Despite community knowledge of violent attacks on members of the LGBT community here on Guam, these instances often go unreported. So despite existing federal hate crimes protections, Guam's FBI statistics report zero hate crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity in previous years.
Many LGBT people and our supporters are feeling fearful, angry and suspicious. We stand together as an island community and as a family in opposition to hate and violence against the LGBT community. We believe that LGBT people should feel safe and included in every part of our island life: school, work, home, church, local businesses, in every village and even on base.
It is an act of courage to be out and embrace who you are as LGBT. Stay proud and we will continue to stand up with you in our families, in our workplaces, in our schools, in our places of worship and in our government.
Wherever you are, remain vigilant in your personal safety. As an island community we re-commit ourselves to embracing and protecting each other as family regardless of bias against the LGBT community and our supporters. Love conquers hate.
Whether you find yourself dancing at PRIDE, catching the latest DIOSA show on Thursdays, enjoying ISA LGBT Guam's Pride in the Pacific Beach Party on June 26, or celebrating PRIDE Mass with GALA later this Summer--happy pride not just this month, but every single day. Today we mourn and remember, every day may we work together to build a more diverse and inclusive beloved community."
SPECIAL INVITE: Thursday, June 16 9pm at Club Icon, Tumon
The LGBT community and supporters often gather weekly at Club Icon on Thursday nights for the Untouchables. This Thursday June 16, before a special 9pm show a candlelight vigil and moment of silence and action is being coordinated by ISA GUAM, DIOSA and community stakeholders. Want to help or get more details? Follow at isaguam.org.
Tim de la Cruz - GALA Guam Executive Director
Lasia Casil - ISA LGBT Guam
Kelly Diosa - House of DIOSA
Senator Nerissa B. Underwood
Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz
Rev. James Moore, Deacon Episcopal Church & GALA GUAM Board President
Jaryna Balbas and Adrian Diaz - Miss Pacificana Organization