Rainbow flags fly to honor Orlando shooting victims

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Rainbow flags fly to honor Orlando shooting victims

All four UW Medicine hospitals fly flags in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
McKenna Princing

All four UW Medicine hospitals are flying rainbow flags to honor the people who were killed in the June 12 shooting at Pulse, an Orlando, Florida, nightclub.  The venue was a popular spot for lesbian, gay, bisexual,  transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ) individuals and their friends and families. The flags were raised yesterday, June 13.

The four UW Medicine hospitals are Harborview Medical Center, Northwest Hospital & Medical Center,

close up of UW Medicine pride flag
Kelley Balcomb-Bartok
A close up of the UW Medicine rainbow flag displayed at Valley Medical Center
Rainbow flag Valley Medical Center

Valley Medical Center and UW Medical Center. The rainbow flag is recognized as a symbol of respect, tolerance and acceptance around the world.

“The tragic and senseless killings in Orlando are deplorable,” said Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine. “I share the grief that all are feeling about this horrific event and the loss of treasured lives. I extend my deepest condolences to the LGBTQ community targeted in the massacre. As a UW Medicine community, we are steadfast in our commitment to improving the health of all people. And as a community, I ask that we work together, remembering this tragedy, on behalf of building unity, acceptance, inclusion and tolerance rather than division and intolerance. Together, we can and must work to prevent such violence and such hatred from occurring in the future.”

While progress has been made in Seattle and elsewhere, LGBTQ individuals and communities still face hate, violence and discrimination. 

Rainbow flag at Valley Medical Center
Kelley Balcomb-Bartok
Staff at Valley Medical Center in Renton, Wash., turn out to see the display of the UW Medicine rainbow flag in support of those affected by the Orlando, Florida, nightclub shooting
Rainbow flag

The shooting has been called a hate crime specifically against the LGBTQ community.

“Our hearts are deeply saddened for the individuals who lost their lives and the families and friends who lost loved ones in the shooting yesterday,” said Cindy Hecker, interim chief health system officer for UW Medicine. “We stand with and support our LGBTQ patients, staff, family, and friends."

Through the work of an LGBT Clinical Care Advisory Committee, UW Medicine administrators, providers, staff and students hope to foster pride, equity, and respect within the healthcare system. The Committee's responsibilities include increasing community awareness of LGBTQ healthcare issues, improving access and care in clinical, research, and education settings and making recommendations for providing top-quality service to LGBTQ individuals.