Safety precautions in place to protect Louisville LGBTQ community

Safety for LGBTQ top of mind on anniversary of Pulse Nightclub shooting

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A vigil in Louisville on Wednesday marked the somber anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting.

It was three years ago when 49 people were shot and killed inside the gay nightclub in Orlando.

The mass shooting caused clubs across the country to take a closer look at security.

At the vigil, law enforcement, the Louisville Pride Foundation and local club owners spoke to WAVE 3 News about risks for the LGBTQ community in Louisville and how they are protected.

“We were in contact with people while it was happening inside the club,” Play Louisville owner Micah McGowan said. “People we knew inside the club were hiding, that were terrified for their life they didn’t know what was going to happen.”

The Pulse Nightclub shooting hits close to home for Play club owners McGowan and Chris Galla.

“We needed a safe place for our community,” Galla said.

When it comes to security, their club has 32 cameras, police officers on site and everyone must scan their ID.

”Unfortunately, we live in a society where this could happen anywhere at any time,” McGowan said.

Use the link at the bottom of this story to learn more about reporting crimes against LGBTQ members of the community. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Use the link at the bottom of this story to learn more about reporting crimes against LGBTQ members of the community. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“I don’t think this was a great shock that there are people who want to kill the LGBT community,” said Louisville Pride Foundation Mike Slaton. “We know that.”

Slaton said attacks on the LGBTQ community happen more than you think.

“This year alone there have been 10 transwomen of color who have been murdered in America and that hasn’t had the same headline,” Slaton said. “It’s different to be white and gay and to be a person of color and be gay. It’s different to be transgendered and gay.”

LGBTQ Liaison Officer Johnny Burgrafff said LMPD knows the community is at risk because of those differences, but the threats and assaults are not getting reported.

”There has to be more out there,” Burgraff said.

Rainbow flags may fly in front of Metro Hall for the first time, but McGowan said there’s still work to be done.

"It’s a commonsense idea that love is love, we are all human, we are all the same,” McGowan said.

LMPD has the liaison officer to make sure anyone who feels unsafe has someone to talk to. For more information on safe zones in our city or how you can let an officer know if you or anyone you know has felt unsafe click or tap here.

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