Orlando’s LGBT newspaper chief: People still don’t feel safe being gay in public

The editor of Orlando’s only LGBT newspaper has opened up about the community struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of the Pulse shooting.

50 people were killed during the horrific attack in June, which was the largest mass shooting in US history. The majority of victims were LGBT people of colour.

Speaking to NPR’s All Things Considered, the editor of Orlando’s LGBT newspaper Watermark Billy Manes opened up about the fear that continues to exist locally following the attack.

He said: “We’re a lot more careful about ourselves and how we present at this point, which I don’t think is a great thing.

“Nobody wants to seem too gay, do they? We’ve had developments since the Pulse shooting that have indicated we may not be in the best graces of the general public.”

Asked to clarify, he said: “I’m referring to the November 8 election. There’s been so much sort of collective good that’s going on.

“And I’m not trying to downplay that. But there is so much licensed hate right now. And I’m hearing it more often than I’ve ever heard it in my life.”

He noted that while the city and local community had rallied in response to the shooting, there had nontheless been a string of homophobic incidents since the election.

Mr Manes continued: “I fear for my friends. I fear for my friends who are bartenders in gay bars. And they fear for themselves. And some of them have quit their jobs because of this fear.”

“It’s really bad, especially post-election when people will scream [homophobic insults] at you at a gas station.”

He continued: “People that are having trouble moving on.

“It’s grief and grief happens in stages. And stages are different for everyone.

“The city itself has done an amazing job of pulling itself together with the turnout to all of the event,s and there are funds that have been set up in this community. Our mayor has really taken charge.

“There is a lot of love and respect, but it doesn’t mean that we’re not scared anymore.”