The mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, is the deadliest in the nation's history, and people all over are trying to find ways to help and show support. Here are some suggestions.
Let people know you're OK.
Facebook's Safety Check has a feature allowing people in Orlando to check in and let their family and friends know they are safe. The city has also established a hotline only for families seeking information about loved ones.
Donate blood, because the community under assault can't.
The No. 1 thing you can do is donate blood, especially if you live in the area or have universal-donor Type O blood. The federal government still prohibits men who have sex with men from donating blood. (Yes, in 2016 this is still a thing.) That means that the community directly attacked is unable to support itself in this way at this time of crisis. We'll fix that next. Right now, go donate blood if you can. The blood center in Orlando, OneBlood, said on its website Sunday afternoon that it was "at full capacity" but still needed people to donate over the next several days.
Donate to local LGBTQ organizations.
Equality Florida, the state's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, has created a GoFundMe page for the victims of the attack. Within five hours it had raised more than $330,000. You can donate here.
Fight Islamophobia and recognize LGBTQ Muslims.
There are already attempts to vilify Muslims and divide communities over the Orlando shooting. The Council on American-Islamic Relations' Florida chapter and other Muslim community groups are raising money here. They are showing solidarity between the Muslim and LGBTQ communities using the hashtag #Muslims4Pulse. It's also an important time to recognize those who live at the intersection of those communities and support LGBTQ Muslims.