Christopher Cuevas knew what he wanted to say as he approached the First United Methodist Church of Orlando on June 6, about a week before the anniversary of a horrific shooting at the popular gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando.
Cuevas planned to speak at the meeting, where ministers, LGBTQ people and other residents gathered at the church to remember the victims of the shooting. He was nervous as he prepared to tell the crowd about grappling with his Catholic upbringing as a young queer person.
But when he told his story, he said he felt “warmly received” by the mix of people who had come together to heal in the year after the tragedy, in what LGBTQ advocates and faith leaders alike call a shift in their relationships. Now they say the last year has brought new dialogue between them, just one of the ways the community has changed in the wake of the tragedy.
“I was very honest and raw about my experience,” Cuevas said of his speech at the event. “I think for many of the people in attendance, it was an eye-opening experience to them. They may not have ever really seen it from the perspective of a queer trans person.”
Christopher Cuevas, far left, and other members of QLatinx appear at AIDS Walk Orlando on April 15, 2017. Photo courtesy of Christopher Cuevas