Terror attack takes emotional toll on Memphis LGBT community

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A bright, rainbow flag flew half staff at the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center on Monday as white candle wax melted on the hot concrete.

It was one day after the community came together.

"Fifty of our family members were attacked in their home," Will Batts, with the MCLCC, said.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people stood shoulder to shoulder with allies on the streets of Memphis to honor those killed in Orlando.

The sounds were terrifying as gunshots exploded inside of the club, and the images were enough to send chills up your spine.

"It could happen to any of us. So it definitely could. It definitely hits home," Martavius Hampton, with the MGLCC, said.

Hampton called it traumatizing.

"Like for people who may have had this type of past trauma — whether it's bullying or rejection — and I think it's feeding into our internal fears and insecurities we've had in the past. It's just bringing it back to life," he said.

Counselors who work with LGBT people agreed.

"They take the form of anxiety or depression -- a particular guardedness," Dr. James Whelan said.

Whelan said the tragic events can have long and/or short term effects depending on the individual.

"You know, the worst case scenario is just so hard to predict, and it seems so doom and gloom. The reality is that most people can find help and healing just by turning to those around them," he said over the phone.

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