People across the United States and around the world are saddened, angered and confused in the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. With 49 victims dead and at least 53 more wounded, the incident is classified as the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. In light of this tragedy, celebrities are using their platforms to show their support for LGBTQIA+ as they grapple with this senseless attack.
Like many of us, numerous celebrities took to social media to share their initial reactions to news of the shooting. Ariana Grande expressed the confusion and sadness we all felt upon hearing the heartbreaking news, tweeting, “How how how how can one have so much hate ????? My heart…… is so broken. Praying for the families of the Orlando victims. I am so sorry.”
Vanessa Hudgens share a similar sentiment on Instagram, saying, “Violence never fixes issues. Only love.”
Beyoncé Instagrammed a colorful floral peace sign, simply captioned, “Condolences and prayers to Orlando.” Madonna, meanwhile, has posted four pictures on Instagram since the shooting. The first was a photo with the quote, “You cannot use the name of God, or religion, to justify acts of violence, to hurt, to hate, to discriminate.” Her most recent post this morning is a collage of photos of all the victims.
In Antwerp, Belgium, Adele paid tribute to the victims by starting her concert with a dedication to “everybody in Orlando and at Pulse nightclub last night.”
“The LGBTQ community, they’re like my soulmates since I was really young,” she added with tears in her eyes, “so I’m very moved by it.”
Early Sunday morning, Lin-Manuel Miranda simply tweeted a picture of a rainbow heart with the word “Orlando.” At the Tony Awards later that night, Miranda accepted the award for Best Score for Hamilton. Instead of a typical speech, he wrote a powerful sonnet that paid tribute to his wife and son, but also spoke to the tragic shooting and reaffirmed the notion that love is love. In a video from the award show, Miranda recites, “We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger / We rise and fall, and light from dying embers / Remembrances that hope and love last longer’ And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love; Cannot be killed or swept aside.”
The following day, New Yorkers held a rally outside of Manhattan’s historic Stonewall Inn in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. Nick Jonas spoke to the crowd, sharing how heartbroken he was upon hearing of the shooting. “I grew up here in New York City and New Jersey, performing on Broadway shows, surrounded by some of my closest friends from the LGBT community,” he says. “My father, a minister from New Jersey, shaped my view that love is love, that we are all equal. That no matter who you are, or where you’re from, or where you’re going in life, you have the right to love and be loved.”
At the same rally, Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt star Tituss Burgess addressed the crowd by singing “Someday” from West Side Story. The song choice was apt, as the lyrics say, “We’ll find a new way of living. We’ll find a way of forgiving. Somewhere, there’s a place for us.”
An outspoken advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community, Lady Gaga gave an emotional speech at a rally at Los Angeles City Hall. “I can’t help but feel that this level of hatred, like all prejudicial crimes, this is an attack on humanity itself,” the singer said tearfully. “This is an attack on everyone. I will not allow my anger and outrage over this attack to overshadow our need to honor those who are grieving truly for their lost ones — lost members of the LGBT community.”
“Tomorrow I hope that we all race thoughtfully and loudly towards solutions,” she added, “But tonight, and right now, Orlando, we are united with you. And we are here to remember.” She went on to read aloud the names of the 49 victims killed at the nightclub Pulse late on Saturday night.
TV show hosts also shared their reactions to the shooting. In his opening monologue, Jimmy Fallon said that he, “as a new father, am thinking, ‘What do I tell my kids? What do I tell them about this? What can we learn from this? What if my kids are gay, what do I tell them?'” He says perhaps this is a lesson in tolerance, saying, “we need to get back to being brave enough to accept that we have different opinions and that’s ok, because that’s what America is built on: the idea that we can stand up and speak out minds and live our lives and not be punished for that.”
Full Frontal‘s host Samantha Bee said that as a TV host, she was meant to “stand on stage and deliver some well-meaning words about how we will all get through this together, how love wins, how love conquers hate.”
“But you know what? Fuck it!” Bee says, “I’m too angry for that! Love does not win unless we start loving each other enough to fix our fucking problems!” She went on to call out the United States’ lax gun control regulations as well as the lax reactions of certain politicians, including Florida governor Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio.
“We can’t constitutionally get rid of all guns, but can’t we get semiautomatic assault rifles out of the hands of civilians?” she asked. “‘Sam Bee wants to take your guns away!’ Yes-the ones that mow down a roomful of people in seconds. Yes, I do want to take those guns away.” She admits there will always be people fueled by homophobia, racism and radicalism willing to commit such atrocities, but “we are making it far too easy for their derangement to kill us.” As a nation, the United States needs to “find the political will to reject a mass shooting per day as the price of freedom.”