It is with great shock and dismay that the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) has learnt of the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando, Florida which is known for its community programs.

At time of writing, the attack has claimed the lives of 50 persons, and left injured at least 53 others.

“We are devastated by this tragedy, and we can’t imagine the extent of the horror breaking into what it had to be a night of fun for many members of our community and their allies,” ILGA Executive Director Renato Sabbadini said. “We are mourning for the victims, and our hearts are with their families, their friends and the entire community.”

Even if the investigation is at an extremely early stage to be drawing any conclusions, the possibility that this might have been “a massive, massive hate crime” – as an US official described it – looks all too scary and realistic, and adds to the horror and sadness of it all. It is hard not to fear that this was a targeted attack against a community, and this is a dreadful reminder of the price far too many LGBTIQ persons, all around the world, have to pay simply for being who they are.

“It is impossible not to note that the attack took place in a gay club, and right in the middle of Pride month,” ILGA co-Secretaries General Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy say. “This hate crime hurts even more, as it hits the LGBTIQ community in a time of joy and celebration. We are grieving for the victims, and thinking about all those who are affected by this shooting, and are calling for the whole community to respond to this crime by staying united. Hate must have no place in our society and our struggle will continue until all are safe and equal.”