Local News

Orlando massacre hits close to home for Triangle LGBT community

Posted June 13, 2016 6:46 p.m. EDT

— Following Sunday's mass shooting inside Orlando's Pulse nightclub, many in the Triangle LGBT community are leaning on each other for support.

James Miller, director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh, said the nightclub shooting hit close to his heart.

"When I heard the word 'pulse' I immediately knew," Miller said. "Pulse, being one of the largest nightclubs in Florida, I had been there before. I knew the space."

Miller said now more than ever, the community needs to come together.

"Everybody who is listening to this and seeing this, you know someone who is either L, G, B, or T, and I just want to make sure that you understand them and that you standby and be an ally for them," he said.

Inside North Carolina State University's GLBT Center, counselors were brought in to offer support.

"People are feeling shaken," said Andy Deroin, the GLBT Center coordinator. "It has hit a little closer to home than some of the other mass shootings or other events that have happened recently."

Ashton Teach, a senior at NC State, is transgender. He said there is a false sense of security when inside of a gay club.

"When you are with people that you are accepted by, you have a community there. You are all together and it is kind of a safe zone," he said.

Miller said no matter what happens, he will not live in fear.

"I know that this tragedy is something that will remain in the back of our heads, but it won't change who we are," he said.