US president Joe Biden has vowed to make the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a national memorial, as he commemorated the 5th anniversary of the attack which killed 49 people and left a further 53 suffering from injuries. In a statement released on June 12, Biden referred to Pulse as a place of “acceptance and joy, turned into a place of unspeakable pain and loss.”
He paid tribute to the “brave first responders and the community who found strength and compassion in each other”, and said he has “stayed in touch with families of the victims and with the survivors who have turned their pain into purpose.” He promised that he will shortly sign a bill to designate the nightclub as a national memorial, and said there is “more we must do to address the public health epidemic of gun violence in all of its forms”.
Biden also noted that LGBTQ+ people, particularly trans women of colour, can be disproportionately impacted by gun violence, and said: “We must create a world in which our LGBTQ+ young people are loved, accepted, and feel safe in living their truth.” He then urged lawmakers to pass the Equality Act to provide LGBTQ+ Americans with protections from discrimination.
June 12 2021 marked 5 years since the massacre in the Pulse nightclub. Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, was heavily criticised after recently cutting $150,000 in state spending to provide mental health services for those impacted by the attack. Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the shooting, said he will “never forget” the governor’s actions.