7 powerful portraits of Orlando LGBTIs after last month’s massacre that capture a raw humanity

Edwin Santiago (left) and his partner Felix Soto. 'The hardest part was trying to find out if my friends were OK,' says Santiago

Next Tuesday marks one month since the tragic shooting at Orlando LGBTI nightclub Pulse, which saw 49 people lose their lives at the hands of gunman Omar Mateen.

In the wake of the massacre, National Geographic went to the Florida city to meet members of the local community to try to make some sense of the tragedy.

Here, in their own words, local LGBTIs and their friends and families discuss how the incident changed their lives forever – while sharing their hopes for a better future for queer people in Orlando and around the world.

For the full feature, visit the National Geographic website by clicking here.

© Wayne Lawrence/ National Geographic

Juna Esperance

‘I think it really hit everyone more, ‘cause you know you hear it around the world, but you never think it’s going to be at a place where you lay your head at.’

© Wayne Lawrence/ National Geographic

Demetrius Spires

‘I was at Pulse the night of the shooting. I was on my way home. I was standing at the door when all of a sudden I heard gunshots and all that. And I ran out the door and I didn’t look back. My heart goes out to everybody that has family that was involved or killed inside that shooting.’

© Wayne Lawrence/ National Geographic

Jorion Range, Ismael ‘Izzy’ Vazquez, and Heath Marvin

‘It’s finally our turn to say something and say something loud now that the spotlight is on us,’ Vazquez says.

© Wayne Lawrence/ National Geographic

Kevin Borelli

‘Everybody needs to be together in these times of need. Not just now but everyday. It can happen to anybody. It can happen anywhere as well. And to know that a specific community was targeted, it’s really heartbreaking and it’s just unreal.’

© Wayne Lawrence/ National Geographic

Xiomara Flores (left), with her partner, Timisha Grandstaff, and their daughters, Kiele Mahina (back right) and Samadhi Grandstaff

‘Having two kids—one’s 12 and one’s six years old—and now they don’t even know if they’ll have both parents coming home one day. They don’t know if we’ll be safe. They got treated differently at school before this even happened. So now this is even more of a wake-up call.’

© Wayne Lawrence/ National Geographic

Terry DeCarlo, the executive director of The GLBT Center of Central Florida, and his partner, William Hoelsman

The post 7 powerful portraits of Orlando LGBTIs after last month’s massacre that capture a raw humanity appeared first on Gay Star News.

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