CNY LGBT Groups Reflect on Orlando Shooting
By Gabrielle Lucivero
Thousands of miles from Orlando, members of the LGBT community in Central New York are struggling to understand what happened.
"I just had a sinking feeling,” said Al Shields, another member of the group.
My heart just sunk right where I sat. It's really, it's sad."
SAGE Upstate, a group for older LGBT people in the area, hosted their monthly meeting Sunday. They made time to talk about how they're processing the news.
"That discussion was empathetic, compassion, fear, concern,” Shields said.
But as the conversation continued, that concern and fear became strength and empowerment.
"It's very important that we show up and be visible and I'm very glad that people feel called to come and support the community at this time,” said Wright.
Group members say that even in the face of terror, they're a community based in acceptance and understanding.
"I put myself in the equation because I know what it means and I know how it feels to be judged,” said Shields. “I have felt it most of my life so with that, that helps me to not judge someone else...Obviously this person is in their own prison."
And they want Orlando to know that amongst their understanding and acceptance, they're finding solidarity, too.
"I'm heartbroken and I think the sympathy of the gay community in Syracuse and across the country and the gay community around the world I'm sure is with you at this time,” said Wright.”
There will be two events at City Hall Monday. First the annual Pride Week flag raising at noon and at six, a candlelight vigil for the victims.