Monday night the LGBT community in Fort Lauderdale claimed hostile territory as their own as they gathered on the corner of US1 and Oakland Park Blvd. near Target. The corner, which is known for anti-gay and conservative rallies, became a beacon of hope and spreading a message of love to the community.
Local attorney and activist Tom Runyan organized the event in less than 8 hours with more than 200 people showing up.
“The message of the rally is love always wins,” Runyan said. “This corner has always been a corner of hatred. Today we took it back.”
Attendees held rainbow flags and “Love Always Wins” signs as cars honked in support.
One car though stopped and joined in after realizing what was going on.
“This young lady was here from Orlando. She had friends that passed away from the shooting. She was just diving by and didn’t even know what was happening,” Runyan said. “I hugged her and hugged her. And she was just crying. This is why we were here to be able to provide some outlet to let people vent their feelings.”
Local activist Michael Rajner also attended and was moved by the community response.
“It was a much needed affirmation for so many LGBT individuals who have been beaten down from Sunday's massacre at Pulse. There was tremendous power to hear car after car, including a fire truck, honk their horn in solidarity. We stood on the corner unified with those who drove past,” Rajner said. “There was also tremendous irony as this corner is usually occupied by Tea Party activists and their leader Danita Kilcullen died on Sunday, June 5th, the 35th anniversary of the first report of AIDS in 3 gay men. Danita was rabidly homophobic and often thought all LGBT folk deserved to die of AIDS.”