December 12, 2016 at 11:58 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Orlando marks 6-month anniversary of Pulse nightclub massacre

Dec. 12, 2016, marks six months since a gunman killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Tributes to the victims are now found throughout the city. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Dec. 12, 2016, marks six months since a gunman killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Tributes to the victims are now found throughout the city. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Monday marks six months since a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that survivors of the June 12 massacre and friends and relatives of those who died attended a memorial service inside the fence that now surrounds the Pulse nightclub. The names of the 49 victims were read aloud at 2:02 a.m., the exact moment when the gunman opened fire.

Pulse is scheduled to hold a second memorial service on Monday. The Orlando Sentinel reported Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan are among those who are expected to speak at an event the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.

The massacre — which is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history — sparked an outpouring of grief in the U.S. and around the world.

Twenty-three of the 49 victims were LGBT Puerto Ricans.

A plaque with the names of those who died inside the Pulse nightclub is part of the U.S. commonwealth’s first LGBT-specific monument that San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz dedicated in June. Gay clubs and the LGBTT Community Center of Puerto Rico erected makeshift memorials to the victims in the weeks after the massacre.

“It really shocked me,” LGBTT Community Center of Puerto Rico Executive Director Cecelia La Luz told the Washington Blade in July, describing her initial reaction to the shooting.

Orlando mayor: Trump was ‘promoting hate’ after massacre

President-elect Trump in the days after the massacre reiterated his calls to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country.

The gunman, who pledged his allegiance to the leader of the so-called Islamic State, was born in New York City to Afghan parents. Dyer told the Blade in October during a telephone interview that Trump was “promoting hate.”

“We don’t hold it against the Muslim community that (the gunman) was a bad actor,” said Dyer.

The massacre also prompted Equality Florida, the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBT advocacy groups to back gun control efforts. It is uncertain whether they will gain traction once Trump takes office.

Frankie "Jimmy" de Jesús, Pulse nightclub, gay news, Washington Blade

A candle outside the LGBT Community Center of Puerto Rico in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, in July pays tribute to Frankie “Jimmy” de Jesús, one of the victims of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Fla. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The city of Orlando last month announced it had reached an agreement to purchase Pulse from owner Barbara Poma for $2.25 million. She said in a statement her lawyers released last week that she had backed out of the deal.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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