The one year anniversary marked a dark, sobering day in the middle of national Pride month. As part of his "Chosen Family" series and to commemorate and mourn the 49 lives lost in last year's heinous attack on the LGBTQ community, Tyler Oakley and Raymond Braum ventured to Orlando and Pulse to see the state of the local community one year later.
"Pulse, like The Center, was a sanctuary for young gay people," Oakley said. "It was a place to watch drag queens perform, where you could make friends and meet boys, where you didn't have to explain yourself and could just feel alive and at home."
Oakley spoke with survivors Angel Colon and Brandon Wolf as they remembered that night in vivid detail and the friends they lost. Christine Leinonen, who briefly became the face of those affected by the massacre when she pled for help finding her son on national television, said that it's not enough to have a community or straight allies, but everyone needs to partake in activism to help those within the community most in need.
"The effects of June 12 are still palpable in Orlando, but I was surprised by how, a year later, it manifests in compassion and pride," said Oakley. "Orlando was shaken by a tragedy, but they have grounded themselves in love. Seeing the tenacity of this community reminded me of the strength you can find with those around you. Orlando exemplified queer resilience." Watch, below.