A solidarity event is being held at the Canterbury Christ Church University Chapel, at the North Holmes campus, on 15 June at 5:30 in wake of the Orlando shootings.


The event is intended as a “show of solidarity and sympathy with the victims of this and all attacks on the LGBTQi community”. Solidarity with Orlando has been organised by John Gilmore, the Co-Chair of the LGBTQi Staff Network, and is supported by the chaplaincy and Vice-Chancellor’s office.


Gilmore, also a doctoral researcher and Associate Lecturer at the University, spoke about the Orlando shootings which prompted the vigil: “The Pulse massacre was the most prolific attack on the global LGBTQi community in decades. This was not random, this was a most horrific example of homophobia and a result of societies continued intolerance. We will not accept this, we will continue to fight homophobia, biphobia and transphobia when we encounter them. For those who were killed in Orlando and in all hate crimes against LGBTQi people Rest in Power”.


When speaking with Gilmore, he emphasised that the event was organised by and about the LGBTQi community, something which he believed was important to stress following Canterbury Pride and the choice made not to advertise it as being an LGBTQi event. He said: “Many commentators are trying to present this tragedy as something other than an attack on and a tragedy for our community. It is so important that LGBTQi events and spaces are recognised as such and that we recognise that the erasure of LGBTQi identity is perpetuating homophobia.”


In addition to the vigil, CCCU also flew a pride flag at half mast. This is an action that was later followed at the University of Kent by Rutherford College.


Gilmore posted on social media: “This morning without a seconds hesitation, the Vice-Chancellor and Pro Vice-Chancellor who supports Equality and Diversity sanctioned the flying of our flag half mast”.


Kent Union’s sabbatical officer team will also be attending the event and encourage Kent students to attend the CCCU event.


Kent Union said: “We have all been shocked and deeply saddened by recent events in Orlando and I know that the family and friends of the victims are in all of our thoughts. To show solidarity with the LGBT community there, and around the world, the rainbow Pride flag will be flying at half mast today and tomorrow above Rutherford College and the University would like to invite all staff and students to have a minute in silent reflection tomorrow, Wednesday 15 June, at noon.


“Canterbury Christ Church University will be hosting a vigil tomorrow at 5:30pm to remember the victims and to show support for those still suffering from all hate crimes.”