A Show of Solidarity and Support
In the aftermath of the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, the Leeds Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGB&T) community came together for a nighttime vigil on Monday, June 13th. The event aimed to show support and solidarity with the victims of the horrific massacre, which claimed the lives of at least 50 people.
Gathering on Lower Briggate
The gathering took place on Lower Briggate, also known as gayleeds, beginning at 10:30 pm with speeches and tributes. A minute of silence was observed at 11 pm to honor the lives lost in the Florida LGB&T nightclub.
United in Grief
At 11 pm, LGB&T venues in the heart of gayleeds ceased serving, and the community and its allies took to the streets for a silent, candlelit vigil. Lower Briggate was closed to traffic for 15 minutes before, during, and after the event.
Deputy Councillor James Lewis spoke shortly before the minute of silence, expressing Leeds City Council’s full support for the vigil. The council’s LGB&T Hub and Network have long been successful in promoting inclusion and unity in the city.
Community Leaders Stand Together
The vigil came together quickly, thanks to the efforts of Leeds LGB&T community leaders who felt a deep need to show love and support for the victims of the Orlando tragedy. Leeds businessman and LGB&T venue owner Michael Rothwell expressed the importance of standing together, saying, “hate has no place in the world.”
Honoring the Victims
Venues like Queens Court, Fibre, Mission 2, The New Penny, Viaduct Showbar, and Blayds all fell silent during the vigil. Candles were sold, with proceeds going to help those affected by the Orlando massacre. Additionally, Leeds First Direct Arena, a significant supporter of equality in the city, changed the color of its building at 11 pm to honor the victims.
The vigil demonstrated the power of unity and togetherness in the face of tragedy. The Leeds LGB&T community showed their commitment to mourning, changing the world, living, laughing, and loving together.