Those grieving for the 49 victims killed in the Pulse nightclub massacre received an outpouring of love on Saturday, as children with fruit-scented markers scribbled messages of support on posters and rainbow umbrellas were twirled high above the heads of “guardian angels” during a counter protest in Orlando.
When church members from Westboro Baptist Church chanted their infamous preachings, the crowd sang back, “What the world need now is love, sweet love” and a soulful rendition of Amazing Grace.
One WBC man repeatedly asked the crowd about the fall of Sodom, but a counter protester kept shouting back, “It’s OK. We love you, too!”
A local Shakespeare repertory theater brought a squad of “angels” with wings of PVC pipe and white sheets to block out WBC.
Terry DeCarlo, head of The Center, the LGBT hub of Orlando, thanked the crowd profusely for keeping the counter protest centered on love and light.
The inimitable Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a street performance organization where men in drag use religious imagery to satirize gender and moral issues, stood proud on the front lines.
One sister had blue glitter in his beard, and when the protest ended peacefully, his congratulatory kiss to Terry DeCarlo’s bald head left a sparkly smudge — a reminder that love wins.