Following the worst mass shooting in American history, the LGBTI community of Bangkok joined many other cities around the world in showing love, support, and solidarity for the victims at a candlelight vigil.
At 6pm, on 13 June 2016, outside of the Embassy of the United States in Bangkok, Pray for Orlando: Bangkok
, a small candle light vigil, was organized to provide mourners with an opportunity to show their solidarity with the victims of the malicious attack on the LGBTI community in Orlando.
Glyn T. Davies, the American ambassador, was at the event and thanked Paisarn Likhitpreechakul, an event co-organizer and leading LGBTI activist, for the support from the LGBTI community in Bangkok. Glyn then lit a candle and personally thanked many people for coming out to show support for the victims.
Glyn T. Davies lights a candle to pay respect at the Pray for Orlando: Bangkok vigil
Paisarn told Prachatai English that “People don’t think that in a country like the US, people would still be getting killed for being gay,” but he hoped that the vigil shows Thai support to LGBTI communities everywhere.
For many, this is a difficult time. Jonas Bagas, a gay man from the Philippines who came to show support, told Prachatai English that this “Hatred is profoundly familiar to the LGBTI community” and that “disgust over two men kissing is a kind of hatred that everyone should shun.” Jonas, was of course alluding to the fact that the father of the shooter implied that his son had become “very angry” after seeing two men kiss in Miami, a few months prior.
Many people in the LGBTI community, including Jonas, have expressed that this attack in a gay bar or club, where, as Jonas put it, “LGBTI people go to find refuge,” has really left no safe space for the community.
Chanoknun Nilyok, a Thai gay man who worked at a gay bar in New York City for four years, echoed this point saying that he and his friends have been heavily impacted by the shootings in Orlando. “Even though we live in Thailand, on the other side of the world, many of my friends have expressed that they don’t feel safe anywhere anymore,” he explained.
A Banner was created to emphasize that Saturday’s mass shooting is not a reason for Islamaphobia
Chanoknun may have said one of the most clearest points of the evening when he said “If you don’t like someone, just leave them alone!”
US Ambassador Glyn T. Davies speaking with Paisarn Likhitpreechakul
Vigil attendees show solidarity with the Orlando victims