On Saturday, June 12, a sea of veiled, white-clad activists from the direct action group Gays Against Guns showed up to the Christopher Street Piers—a site with a storied and complex queer history—to hold space for the 49 people who were murdered at Orlando's Pulse nightclub in 2016. The date marked the fifth anniversary of the Pulse shooting, which primarily targeted Latinx members of the LGBTQ+ community and remains the second-most deadly mass shooting in American history.
"Remember the 49," read one protest sign, and that was the ethos that fueled the group's march from the Piers to the Stonewall National Monument, where numerous speakers—including Gays Against Guns co-founder Jay W. Walker—discussed the urgent need for stricter gun control laws and the limited progress that has been made in terms of protections for the LGBTQ+ community's most vulnerable members since 2016.
Gays Against Guns was founded in the immediate wake of the Pulse shooting, and its members are dedicated to what they describe as "non-violently breaking the gun industry's chain of death": the group also stands in opposition to white supremacy and police brutality, two issues that came to a head in the U.S. during last summer's wave of protests. Gays Against Guns is particularly invested in pointing out the disproportionate effects of gun violence on LGBTQ+ people, and particularly queer and trans people of color; below, find the chilling yet inspiring images from the group's Pulse Remembrance Day protest.