The Lines That Join Us: Part II

People remembering loss and celebrating survival through their unique tattoos created in response to the Pulse tragedy

The Lines That Join Us is a storytelling project and exhibit collecting the stories of people who have chosen to get tattoos in response to the Pulse tragedy that unfolded on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, FL. The Orlando Public Library displayed this collection of portraits by Carrie Moran in its main gallery space from October to November 2017.

Each portrait is accompanied by a brief narrative, and this collection will introduce you to the stories of Danielle Cosgrove, Daniel Ziegler, and Raymond Sharpe, three of the many who have chosen to honor the 49 and greater LGBTQIA+ community in this way.

Danielle Cosgrove by Carrie MoranOrlando Public Library

Danielle Cosgrove

Danielle radiates positive energy. She is a yoga teacher, and she used yoga as a way to heal in the wake of the tragedy.

In the days after Pulse the owners of the Warrior One studio, Danielle's place of work, chose to open the studio as a space for people to gather, make art and do yoga, and heal.

Danielle found the experience therapeutic. She said, “My whole thing is community, so when things happen in our community that are really profound, good or bad, I think it’s so important to gather people.”

Pulse was a gathering place for Danielle and her friends. She was a shot girl there for a while, and met her girlfriend Andrea there. They also shared their first kiss at Pulse.

Andrea went to high school with Drew Leoninen, and the impact of Pulse was devastating to the couple. It was a sentimental place for them, and an important part of their history.

Danielle already had her elephant tattoo when Pulse happened. After Pulse, a friend told her about a studio in Titusville that was donating proceeds to charity.

She wasn’t sure what to get, if she should add to an existing tattoo or create something new. She planned to get color on the elephant tattoo; she wanted him playing in water.

She knew that this was the time, and that she wanted him to be playing in a rainbow.

There’s a hidden heart in Danielle’s tattoo, but there’s no hiding the heart you feel in her presence.

Daniel Ziegler by Carrie MoranOrlando Public Library

Daniel Ziegler

Daniel has lived in Florida since he was eleven. He’s moved around the state, but was always drawn to Orlando. Daniel’s feelings for Orlando deepened in the aftermath of Pulse.

He said, "If there’s anything good that came out of the bad, it did make Orlando where I want to stay. It made it home."

"Seeing 50,000 strong come out that next Sunday to be there, and to just see the community come together, it did make it home. Whether I am a native or not, Orlando is home now."

Daniel lost five friends that night, including Eddie Sotomayor. Daniel reflected that Eddie “wasn’t just someone I met at the club, he’s been to my house & stayed over, he had been a part of my life.” He knew immediately that he wanted to get a tattoo to honor those friends he lost.

The two flags in the ribbon represent that the LGBTQIA+ community is not separate, and that this attack didn’t just happen to the gay community. The tattoo also has 49 birds, and the birds that are touching represent the couples who lost their lives that night.

Raymond Sharpe by Carrie MoranOrlando Public Library

Raymond Sharpe

Raymond is a natural flirt, with charm and panache that are undeniable. In 2017, he had worked at Southern Nights for over 30 years, longer than any other employee. He spent a lot of time at Pulse and was friends with many of the victims and survivors.

Raymond said, “Other than me being there, it couldn’t have hit me any closer than it did.”
His friend Kevin Jenks came down from New York City the week after Pulse to grieve with him, and to get a matching Pulse tattoo.

His tattoo artist, Thomas Jacobson at 1010 Mills, donated the proceeds from the tattoo directly to Raymond’s friend Victor Guanchez, who worked at Pulse and was one of Raymond’s close friends. Raymond was there when Victor got to meet President Obama in the hospital, and remembers this moment with a mix of pride and awe.

Five days after Kevin returned to New York,  he was killed in a home invasion.
In spite of all this, Raymond keeps a smile on his face.

Raymond was one of many who highlighted positive things that happened in the wake of Pulse, namely the many fundraising efforts he had been part of.

He did this in his work at Southern Nights, but he was more impacted by the personal connection he had with Victor. The money he helped raise for Victor enabled him to purchase a food truck for his family in Orlando.

For more stories, please visit Part III of this exhibition.

Credits: Story

Carrie Moran, 2017.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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