Post submitted by Catherine Matous, HRC Policy Coordinator
This week, nearly five years since the tragedy at Pulse nightclub, H.R. 49, which would designate the National Pulse Memorial, passed the House of Representatives. We urge the Senate to take swift action on this measure as well.
On June 12, 2016, a man fatally shot 49 people and wounded 58 more at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The victims, primarily LGBTQ and Latinx, were senselessly killed in what was supposed to be a safe space while celebrating their shared identity and Pride month.
H.R. 49 was introduced by Reps. Darren Soto (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) and Val Demings (D-FL) on Jan. 4, 2021. The Human Rights Campaign encouraged lawmakers to vote in favor of this legislation to take this important next step in preserving the memories of the lives taken on that horrific night so that not only the city of Orlando remembers, but our entire nation.
This horrific tragedy changed the LGBTQ community forever, catalyzing the movement to unite behind gun violence prevention. Pulse is a reminder of the work that remains to end the acts of hate that wound and kill LGBTQ Americans today — violence that all too often is perpetrated with guns.
According to a report HRC released last year with Equality Florida, Everytown for Gun Safety and Giffords entitled “Remembering and Honoring Pulse: Anti-LGBTQ Bias and Guns are Taking Lives of Countless LGBTQ People,” there has been a marked increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, especially against transgender people. Since 2013, three-fourths of homicides against transgender people have involved a gun, and nearly eight in 10 homicides of Black trans women involve a gun.
HRC has and will continue to stand with Orlando, with the survivors and with the families and friends of the 49 siblings, parents, friends and loved ones taken that day. Congress should pass H.R. 49 to establish the National Pulse Memorial and pass commonsense gun violence prevention measures to prevent future tragedies like Pulse.