Abilene gay club manager talks response to Orlando shooting
ABILENE, Texas - As the country struggles with the massacre that occurred at an Orlando nightclub Sunday morning, members of the LGBT community in Abilene say they refuse to live in fear.
Jason Hernandez is the manager of the city's only gay nightclub, Pride. He told KTXS that gay clubs have long been a safe haven for people in the LGBT community.
When the news of the shooting, which left 49 dead and many others injured, reached Hernandez, he says he felt many emotions.
"I was angry, but at the same time you have to think about the individual," Hernandez said. "Like maybe [the shooter] was confused about himself, he didn't understand himself or who he was."
Pride has only been open for three weeks but the tragedy almost made Hernandez consider closing the club's doors for good.
"Those thoughts do cross your mind living in West Texas, but I have a lot of support from the community, supporting friends and supporting family," Hernandez said.
Hernandez said that he hopes everyone in community, not just LGBT, will come out and show a united front.
"I hope people are going to come here to show that they're not afraid. We're proud of who we are … you can't put us down or push us down," Hernandez said. "Although they're still hurting in their hearts, they'll come here, have fun, and mourn at the same time."
Hernandez told KTXS that the club will take extra security precautions Saturday night.
Pride is located at 1066 South 2nd Street.