Photojournalist and Documentary Photographer Bill Kotsatos is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. These images are from his project ‘The Sanctity Of Gay Clubs‘. To see Bill’s portfolio click on any image.
Just as summer began to kick-off in early June, a 29-year-old security guard shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Not only was it the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter and the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since September 11 2001, it also marked the deadliest incident of violence against LGBTQ people in United States history. Most poignantly is that the killings took place in what the queer community has always considered a “safe space” — the gay establishment — those bars, clubs and resorts found in large cities and small towns alike where, up until that day in June, no one ever had to think twice about their safety. The Pulse nightclub shootings wasn’t just an attack on the gay community, but also an attack on the safe space it offered.
Lasers and thumping music fill the Paradise nightclub at The Empress Hotel in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Friday, July 1, 2016. Some of those who frequent Paradise have been to the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and draw similarities between the two venues, especially when noting the location of the restrooms to that of the dance floor. As they carelessly groove into the weekend there’s someone here who gives a visual sweep every so often. Another takes note of the exit doors while attentive bartenders keep watch over their customers like a shepherd to a flock.