Gay club killing unlikely in Ja - JFLAG

June 13, 2016
AP Investigators from the office of the medical examiner investigate on the west side of Pulse nightclub where a gunman opened fire yesterday morning in Orlando, Fla. The gunman, wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun, opened fire inside the crowded gay nightclub before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers, police said.
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In light of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, yesterday, the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG) says security is top priority when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) friendly events are held in Jamaica.

THE STAR spoke with Latoya Nugent, education and training director at JFLAG, who disclosed that although there are no gay clubs locally, homosexuals host 'events' in Jamaica.

She said: "I am not aware of any LGBT clubs in Jamaica, but there are a lot of spaces where people from the community host parties that are considered to be LGBT friendly."

When asked by our news team if such an occurrence such as the killing of 50 people and the injuring of another 53 at a gay club in Orlando could take place here in Jamaica, Nugent said anything is possible, however, extra precautions are taken.

"Security is usually top priority and because a lot of it (events) is done in secrecy and spaces are not so open, the risk is minimised. The promoters take extra precaution," she said.

Nugent spoke, however, of one event, Pride Jamaica, which was held locally last year in an open space.

"There were no security breaches. The police also provided support as they would for any other event," she said.

THE STAR asked Nugent her thoughts on the Orlando shooting, which is described as "an act of terror and hate".

Nugent said: "It's difficult, when I saw it I said I could be at that club with my partner. I reminisce a few years ago while in Orlando with a partner, I started to put myself in their shoes. I'm still in shock. I still haven't processed it. Really senseless and very disheartening".

She also spoke of the response from the public saying, "There is a lot of outrage locally and elsewhere. It sends a signal that more and more persons are outraged about violence, regardless of the perpetrators or victims".

 

STATE OF EMERGENCY

 

Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared for the city of Orlando after Omar Mateen was accused for the killing of 50 people, and injury to 53 others in the gay club. Mateen was later killed by police during a stand-off at the club where he also held hostages.

The rampage, which is being treated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as an act of terrorism, occurred as the gay community in the US prepares for its Gay Pride celebrations.

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