Boston’s LGBT Communities are reacting to the tragedy in Orlando in grief and defiance.  The massacre occurred on a weekend of celebration in downtown Boston and hours after the annual Gay Pride Parade.
By now these tragic events seem so terribly familiar:  A mass shooting; an act of terrorism that occurs somewhere else in the country and our immediate world gets painted in a broad swatch of fear. 
“I’m 27 years old.  I like to go out. I like to go party.  Now it feels unsafe to go out, to go to the club, because anything can happen,” said Robert Savino. 
Savino was among the crowd taking part in the annual St. James Avenue gay pride block party downtown. A rainbow flag hung from the entrance of a local business at half-staff and celebratory music belied the sadness, fear and anger pulsing through the crowd. 

“I think it will strike some fear in the gay community for at least temporary.” But said Peter Mandow, a self proclaimed gay rights activist since the 1960’s, “then we will come together and be stronger.” 

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As often happens in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, words of defiance and resilience follow. Jae Smith from Lynn was volunteering on security:

“Ya know, I don’t really have no fear out here in Boston.  It’s a really safe community and we look out for everybody out there.  I just wanna give prayers and send my condolences to everyone out in Orlando and you know I just hope it gets better from here.  I love my community. I hope it gets better.  It’ll get better.”

Boston police stood at the entrance to St. James Avenue, which was fenced in on all sides between Clarendon and Berkeley. In years past organizers say people danced in the street and the crowds were massive. But the mood Sunday seemed to match the iron grey sky that threatened rain.
 Just blocks away, outside Club Café, a nearly 35-year-old gay nightclub and restaurant, there was a very different sound: Solemnity. Here a memorial had been erected.  A book of condolences was nearly filled, flames from three candles flickered as the wind picked up, and words of sympathy filtered in the air.    
“We just put this up an hour ago, and it’s been a steady stream,” said Andrew Childers of the South End, who created this memorial with his friend Josh Medeiros:

“Woke and looked on Facebook to see what was going on and there was this surprise, this horrible surprise. So we felt this mix out outrage, fear, disappointment, sadness, anger…So we came down here to Club Café, and put together this quick pop-up memorial, just to be able to mourn in some way.”

By coincidence, Boston and federal law enforcement officials held a previously scheduled mock anti-terrorism exercise outside Fenway Park Sunday morning. Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans told reporters, given Boston’s own tragedy --the Marathon Bombings—he had offered Orlando police resources if they needed it.  
“We experienced it, and we got a lot of great help from around the country, and the mayor was quick to reach out to [Orlando police] and offer anything we could do as far as assistance,” said Evans.
The gunman, according to news reports,  just before his murderous rampage evoked the names of the Tsarnaev brothers.  Police are looking to see if there is a connection.
Meanwhile, at the makeshift memorial outside Club Café,  Josh Medeiros, the co-creator, was lighting another candle. He said that some folks in the LGBT community here knew some of the victims in Orlando, among them Stanley Manolo Almodovar from Springfield.  And Medeiros reflected on the meaning of terrorism in the context of his life as a gay man: 

“It hits home when it happens in America and all over the world,  but it really hits home when it happens in a place where we come to be ourselves and to feel comfortable and happy and proud of who we are.”