WASHINGTON — More than 100 people gathered in Dupont Circle on Friday for a vigil in honor of a lesbian couple who was shot last week in a Texas park.
“Last Friday night, a week ago tonight, as many prepared for LGBT Pride celebrations around the country, 19-year-old Mollie Olgin was taking her girlfriend of five months, 18-year-old Kristene Chapa, to a movie,” said Jamie McGonnigal, who co-organized the gathering with Jay Carmona. “They had some extra time on their hands, so they stopped by a local park (in Portland, Texas).”
Chapa and Olgin were found in the park the next morning — Olgin was pronounced dead at the scene, while Chapa remains in intensive care with a shotgun wound to her head. Authorities continue to investigate.
While it remains unclear whether the women’s sexual orientation was a factor, those who spoke at the vigil said the shooting underscores the violence and discrimination that LGBT people continue to face.
“We can’t stand around and take this any longer,” said the Rev. Avinash Macquarie of the United Fellowship Church.
“Mollie Judith Olgin did not deserve to die because she loved Mary Christine Chapa. Mary Christine Chapa should not be in the hospital fighting for her life because she loved Mollie Judith Olgin. No one should ever be judged because of their attractionality. We must begin to fight this ugly creature called discrimination. We must fight with our voices as we tell the world we are not going to continue to let gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people be killed.”
Andrew Barnett, director of the Sexual Minority Youth Action League, and Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence Chair A.J. Singleterry made similar points.
Vigils held across the nation
“We want to send a strong message that we support LGBT youth,” said Jason Haas, an activist for queer and LGBT youth, who organized the San Francisco event.