Orlando club shooting survivor Brandon Wolf hits out at US right wing: ‘We just want to live’

Pulse shooting survivor and gun reform activist Brandon Wolf dressed in a blue suit jacket, white shirt and red tie stands with Washington's Capitol building behind him in the distance

Brandon Wolf, a survivor of the Orlando Pulse shooting, has made a plea to right-wing people on Monday (21 November) to “stop dehumanising” the LGBTQ+ community.

The Pulse nightclub shooting took 49 lives in 2016. Wolf has since been an advocate of common-sense gun legislation and LGBTQ+ rights, becoming the first Pulse survivor to testify before Congress.

In an interview with MSNBC, following the murder of five LGBTQ+ people at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Wolf said he was “furious” at the right wing for anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

“I am so angry that for years we’ve been pummeled with this garbage from the right-wing,” he said.

“They insist that the greatest threat our children face today are a teacher with they/them pronouns, or a drag queen reading ‘red fish, blue fish’ at the local library.”

“Stop dehumanizing us,” Wolf continued.

“Treat us as your neighbors, your family members, your friends. We deserve at least that.”

“I am so angry that our community has to continue to fight, and scratch, and claw for people to treat us with a basic level of humanity. We just want to live.”

Gun violence a feature of American life

In 2022 alone, there have been at least 607 shootings in the US, putting the year on track to be the second highest for American mass shootings.

Wolf said that six years on from the Pulse shooting, the violent losses he experienced make gun-related tragedies intimately painful.

“Yesterday, I woke up heartbroken. Heartbroken for the people I know will have Thanksgiving dinner tables with an empty seat,” he said.

“Heartbroken for those who, like me, had to call their friends’ parents and tell them that their children are not coming home.”
He acknowledged the large response from communities far and wide, but said that resources after gun violence tragedies are often short-lived.

After the Pulse shooting, Wolf said, funding for mental health support dried up in the first couple of years.

The Club Q survivors, and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole, are going to need longer-term support.

“The first thing people can do is to wrap others with love,” Wolf advised.

“The survivors, that community – they’re going to need all of us. Not just tomorrow, not just next week, but also after the cameras leave and people go about their daily lives.”
Whether or not governmental support is long-lived, Wolf guaranteed community support would be.

“This community is going to need us,” he said. “And they’re going to have us, by the way. You can rely on me, the Orlando community, the Pulse-affected community.

“We’re here for you all the way.”