Club owner devastated by Orlando shooting at Pulse
Barbara Poma set up Pulse in tribute to her brother John, who died of¬†complications from HIV infection¬† in 1991.
John told Barbara before he died, that more than anything; he wanted to set up a place for the gay community to hang out. A place where people could freely be themselves; a venue free of hatred, bigotism and intolerance.
John held the vision of setting up such a venue to the last and in his last moments, he spoke the words: “My Pulse”. Following his death, Barbara set up the nightclub Pulse, in Orlando, Florida, in dedication to her brother’s last heartbeats with business partner Ron Legler. It became a resounding success for over a decade and a half. A safe place for the LGBT community and Dreamers and Seekers¬†from communities around the US and indeed, worldwide.
Did you ever read Enid Blyton books? As a child, I devoured Enid Blyton. I believed in brownies, fairies, speaking cats and the ability to fly in your dreams. The experience of flying to strange lands with friends and companions and gain experiences in lands that could only be accessed by climbing a tall tree in a magical forest or trusting your faith to bewitched furniture.
I found similar trusting souls in venues such as Pulse over the decades. I’m speaking to a small cohort of readers here but if you were on the club scene in Wellington, New Zealand- circa 1993, you were privy to a similar hip scene that could be found in the edgiest communities in Europe or the States. Venues such as Barney’s or¬†Ecstasy Plus.
You’d go clubbing and hang out with people who would suspend disbelief alongside you.¬†It was the best of times and it was the best of times.
And there was no imaginable scenario where your family, friends and acquaintances would be held hostage by a deranged gunman in a sanctuary set up by a fellow dreamer.