Detroit’s LGBT community, federal agencies work toward preventing another Orlando

The mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando has put LGBT communities nationwide in center focus among law-enforcement agencies, and Detroit is no different. Area LGBT leaders say they have met with federal officials

What’s surprising, though, is that federal agencies were proactive in reaching out to LGBT service organizations.

Earlier this month, the FBI of the Eastern District of Michigan hosted a gathering with various LGBT community leaders of southeastern Michigan, the first response to the Orlando shootings. The goal was to address the severity of conflicts that deals with LGBT discrimination.

“The meeting went well and was encouraging in the wake of the tragedy. Often it is the LGBT community that requests meetings, but this time we were contacted. It is great to see them provide service to protect,” says Curtis Lipscomb, founder of LGBT Detroit.

Hate crimes must become a priority in the FBI’s Civil Rights initiatives, Lipscomb says. “The FBI has been our friend. Their civil rights program protects people of violence. It’s important to continue stay engaged and not take anyone’s ability to reach out for granted.”

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The meetings come as Detroit’s gay community increases its visibility, particularly Lipscomb’s operations at LGBT Detroit. LGBT Detroit moves into a larger space later this year and is ramping up for Hotter Than July, a celebration of Black gay pride, next month. Equality Michigan’s annual Motor City Pride, held earlier this month at Hart Plaza, continues to bring in record numbers each year.

Next, the local LGBT community plans to meet with the Justice Department again to cover strategic training and leadership. “During hate crimes and mass shootings most people aren’t prepared. Many of us don’t know what to do. The FBI will educate people on when the tragedies occur and what to do to prevent harm. In efforts to continue to have safetym” Lipscomb says.

Law-enforcement agencies are hopeful for positive results. “It was uplifting to witness the passionate and empowering conversations that were shared among the LGBTQ community leaders and our law enforcement partners” Detroit FBI agent David P. Gelios said in a statement.

“I’m still broken over the tragedy but still participating to make a change,” Lipscomb says.

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