Adverse weather did not dampen the spirits of those who paid tribute to victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre in Rockhampton last night.
A small crowd turned out in support of the LGBTI community at a vigil organised by Club-Rok.
Speakers included HOT FM presenter Ben Norris, Rockhampton councillor Rose Swadling and Livingstone Shire councillor Nigel Hutton.
Cr Hutton told The Morning Bulletin that by holding a vigil in Rockhampton the community was sending the message that love was always stronger than hate.
He said that while the tragedy was motivated by “hatred and evil”, it was important to remember the true human spirit was reflected in the worst of times.
Thomas Woodfield, who joined the vigil, said hearing about the massacre was like “a nightmare come true” because it showed the violence many LGBTI people feared.
But he told The Morning Bulletin it was important to continue talking about diversity and inclusive communities in the wake of the tragedy.
“It’s one of those things we shouldn’t stop talking about,” he said. “We need to keep talking about it because if we stop it fades away.”
Sandi Wessling said it was disappointing the massacre wasn’t immediately called out by media as a homophobic hate crime rather than some outlets highlighting the killer’s possible sympathy with terrorist organisations.
“You take it personally because we’ve come so far with equality,” she said. “Everyone has a right to go out and be comfortable.”
The gunman killed 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse gay nightclub last weekend.
Club-Rok hosts a monthly event at Flamingo’s On Quay, an LGBTI-friendly nightclub in Rockhampton.