How safe is the LGBT community today?

How safe is the LGBT community, especially during the summer months when many cities host pride parades and events?
How safe is the LGBT community, especially during the summer months when many cities host pride parades and events? (Photo: REUTERS/David McNew)

By now the world has heard the shocking news coming out of Orlando, Florida, in which the deadliest shooting in recent American history took place at a gay nightclub.

On Sunday morning, 50 people were killed and over 50 more were injured in a targeted hate crime attack on the gay community by a man who was homophobic and known to the FBI for alleged links to terrorism.

Not since 1973, has such a large killing spree targeting the LGBT community been seen, in which a gay bar in New Orleans was firebombed, which resulted in the burning deaths of 32 people and many injured. Until Saturday night, this was considered the largest targeted killings of LGBT people in the United States

That raises the question: how safe is the LGBT community, especially during the summer months when many cities host pride parades and events.

Mathieu Chantelois, executive director of Pride Toronto, is meeting with police today to ensure that all safety precautions are taken so that the LGBT community and all spectators feel safe during Pride Toronto festivities.

Toronto police are taking the Orlando massacre extremely seriously and are planning on beefing up security for pride events occurring this month.

Undeniably, gay communities in North America have been shaken to their core by the horrific massacre in Orlando and while it’s understandable that security is going to be increased throughout events occurring during pride festivities, what happens after?

One response to the massacre have been renewed calls for tougher gun control laws in the U.S. to prevent continued gun massacres, such as the 2015 San Bernadino, California shootings that killed 14 people and injured an additional 21.

However, the U.S. isn’t isolated in experiencing higher and more deadly rates of gun violence. This year alone, there has been a “sharp” increase in gun violence in Toronto; prompting calls for action by Toronto mayor John Tory. So far in 2016, 21 people have been shot dead, considerably up from the nine gun deaths Toronto experienced in the first five months of 2015.

While the U.S. is being urged to toughen gun control, Canada has relaxed its gun control laws. Stephen Harper’s government did away with the registration requirement of guns that are “neither prohibited nor restricted” in 2012.

Tougher gun control law may be a part of the solution but can we blame the most recent massacre on guns alone?

Don’t we also need more education and awareness to combat and prevent hate crimes against the LGBT community?

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