On June 12, the city of Orlando will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub tragedy, with “Orlando United Day,” a “day of love and kindness” filled with scheduled events like a free museum exhibition about the mourners, a music concert with Latinx performers, a reading of the victims’ names and a nighttime vigil at the nightclub.
But when the city released a 44-second video promoting the event yesterday, the messages read by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs omitted any verbal mention of the LGBTQ community, even though the video itself showed a few shots of rainbow flags early on.
Here’s the video:
That omission caught the attention of Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, the city’s first openly gay elected official.
“If you’re going to be inclusive,” Sheehan responded, “you have to talk about everyone who was impacted. That’s not happening. Frankly, I was afraid this was going to happen.”
The video also doesn’t mention that the nightclub tragedy primarily befell the city’s Latinx community. While the Orlando United Day website has a Spanish-language version, it remains unclear whether there’s also a Spanish language version of the video.
Sheehan said that marginalized communities commonly get erased from tragedies like Pulse and, “It begins with omitting them and trying to make them go away.”
While Mayor Dyer did not specifically address the video’s omission of the LGBTQ acronym, he did respond by restating his “unwavering” commitment to every single person affected by the tragedy. Mayor Jacobs also responded:
“If in the absence of specific mention of our cherished LGBTQ and Hispanic populations in the video announcement for the Orlando United Day yesterday, the message was construed as insensitive or dismissive, I would certainly like to underscore that in no way was that the intention. I regret if anyone experienced that reaction.”