South Georgia LGBT community plans vigil for Orlando victims

| June 14, 2016

south georgia pride
Photo: Noelani Mathews

By Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) — The LGBT community in South Georgia says they’re standing in solidarity with Orlando.

On Sunday, people attended a Pride Picnic in Valdosta to celebrate the first anniversary of marriage equality.

However, after the shocking news, they say it’s going to take a lot more people to come out of their ‘supportive closet.’

“I find that a lot of times people are scared to be supportive because of how other people may perceive them,” says Joshua Hancock, with South Georgia Pride. “I think it’s incidents like this that bring people out of their ‘supportive closet’, so you can see who your allies are or who may be against you.”

South Georgia Pride says they believe the act of violence was mainly a hate crime.

They say through love and support, they want to show people this is not the new norm.

“I think the pride movement is going to become stronger,” says Raynae Jones, with South Georgia Pride. “A lot of people thought after marriage equality, what was the point of having prides? Well, this here is the reason. We still need to be visible. If we go back in our closets and if we don’t stand up, they have won.”

On Tuesday, they’re joining forces with One The Same of South Georgia to hold a prayer vigil in memory of the victims in Orlando’s mass shooting.

The vigil will be at 7 p.m. at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church off of Bemiss Road.

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