'I'm extremely distressed... the LGBT community will feel under attack' - Minister Katherine Zappone on Orlando nightclub shooting
Children Minister Katherine Zappone has said gay people feel “under attack” in the wake of the horror massacre of fifty people in Orlando.
US-born Ms Zappone – Ireland's first openly lesbian minister - said she she “extremely distressed” at the ISIL-linked terror attack at a gay nightclub.
She was speaking at an event highlighting the 'It's Good to Talk' LGBT helpline here.
Ms Zappone said that “of course” the LGBT community “will feel under attack” after the atrocity. She added: “I feel it”.
But she pointed out that in this country gay people are freer than they were a year ago with the passing of the marriage equality referendum.
“I'm just extremely distressed I suppose both as someone who has been an advocate for LGBT issues here but especially now - and I speak personally as an American citizen - to know of the extraordinary suffering of the families, of the loved ones.
“It's a terrible, terrible day for America.”
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She said that the gunman's actions was not only a crime against those he killed and injured but also against “all humanity”.
“Obviously LGBT people don't have freedom throughout the world and that's why it's so critical and important that those of us that do and experience equality here need to stand up in solidarity and say no and resist that [such attacks] and express our horror in relation to what has happened,” Ms Zappone said.
She said the attack again raises the issue of gun control in the United States.
“I think President Obama has had to address the American people at least 22 times in relation to gun control.
“It must be true to say that he has not managed to get that under control and hopefully once again this will be an occasion where once and for all we can challenge the gun lobby in the United States of America.”
The LGBT helpline is a support service that's running a special positive mental health awareness campaign during next week's Dublin Pride Festival.
The number is 1890929539.