Image for Thousands Gather In Melbourne, Sing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ As Tribute To Orlando Shooting VictimsImage: Twitter

Thousands Gather In Melbourne, Sing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ As Tribute To Orlando Shooting Victims

Written by Zana Rose on June 17, 2016

Last night in Melbourne’s city centre over one thousand people congregated in support for the LGBTI community, after the recent Orlando mass shooting.

Following the largest mass shooting in US history which was specifically directed at the LGBTI community, was an outpouring of support and defiance for the community which underwent such a violent and fatal attack. Candles and rainbow flags were held high by attendees at Federation Square, and Somewhere Over A Rainbow was sung in grand chorus by all that attended, led by Melbourne’s LGBTI choir.

Leader of the opposition Bill Shorten and his wife attended the event, along with local Greens MP Adam Bandt. Shorten stated:

“There will be people in our LGBTI community who will feel a little less secure and a little less safe after Orlando… They need to see their leaders standing with them. They need to know homophobia has no place in Australian life or Australian attitudes, full stop.”

Victoria’s Gender and Sexuality Commissioner Rowena Allen organised the vigil in Melbourne. On the Facebook event, she stated:

“The experience of stepping into a gay bar for the first time is a universal one. Stepping into a gay bar represents leaving behind what can be an intolerant and violent outside world, and entering a place where you can be whoever you are.

“In light of the tragedy in Orlando, we must be vigilant to protect our safe spaces. As the Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, I commit to continue working to create and protect safe spaces for LGBTI Victorians. Hatred of any kind, whether it be homophobia, biphobia or transphobia, is unacceptable and must be stamped out. My vision is for the whole of Victoria to be a safe space for our LGBTI communities.

“We are all hurting at this time. We stand in solidarity with our LGBTI brothers and sisters in Orlando and beyond. We are here for you, and here for each other.”

Martin Foley, Minister for Equality stated: “Victoria stands with Orlando and the LGBTI community around the world. Love will always win over senseless, horrific hate.”

Earlier in the week on Monday in Sydney, very soon after the attack took place, hundreds gathered at LGBTI night spot Taylor Square, where flowers, rainbow flags and candles spelling “Orlando” were displayed. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s sister Chrstine Foster was among them, holding the hand of her partner Virgina.

Also very soon after the shooting, Sydney’s Harbour Bridge lit up in bright rainbow lights, and a vigil in Newtown took place where hundreds gathered, showing their love and support for the 50 lives lost, and the 53 injured after the horrifying attack.

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