Almost one year ago, a gunman who pledged himself to ISIS showered bullets in an Orlando nightclub and carried out the most deadly shooting in US modern history. On that night alone, 49 people were killed and many others injured. The attack happened on Latin Night at a gay bar named Pulse. Following the attack, vigils were held across the world, leaders spoke out in solidarity with those that lost their lives, and the United Nations Security Council issued a historic statement acknowledging the attack and its anti-gay bias.
Marking that one year anniversary of the Orlando Massacre, Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight action International commented,
“What happened in Orlando was a tragedy and unfortunately the persecution of LGBTIQ people globally has not deescalated since then. In the past year we have seen so many large scale attacks on LGBTIQ communities globally, from the mass killings in Orlando, to the arrests and torture of over 100 gay men in Chechnya – some of whom are still in prisons and mass arrests in Indonesia.
What we had during the Orlando shootings was global recognition and condemnation of violence and discrimination against the LGBTIQ community. This was no more evident than in the historic statement by the United Nations Security Council, which for the first time included a reference to sexual orientation and so acknowledged the anti-gay hate motivated bias in the attack. This important statement sets a precedence in the international peace and security arena that LGBT are being targeted; that this is a matter of international concern.
If we ever hope to stop the escalation of violence against LGBTIQ people, we need a global response like the one we had during Orlando. The human rights and lives of LGBTIQ people must be recognized, respected and protected.”
Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people’s human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.