Despite the Florida midday heat and one very long line, dozens of people waited up to three hours Saturday outside an Orlando, Fla. tattoo parlor, to get the most buzzed-about ink in that central Florida city etched into their skin: the new “One Pulse” tattoos.
All funds contributed at the shop are in turn being distributed by Southern Nights, an Orlando gay and lesbian nightclub that held a benefit for victims, survivors and their families late last week.
The club photographer, Melody Maia Monet, a local transgender woman, YouTube personality and writer, attended the benefit Wednesday night and was also there Saturday night. She tells LGBTQ Nation that Mike Romero, the tattoo artist at Realm, got on stage at Southern Nights very early Sunday morning to announce $5,000 has been raised so far, just by tattoos alone. And much more money came in as clubgoers added $2,770 in cash, Monet said.
Romero told Monet he’s done so many tattoos that he ran out of supplies Saturday and is waiting on a shipment from Amazon Prime to continue his effort to raise awareness as well funds for the families.
Earlier in the week, Monet says she decided she, too, would get the “One Pulse” tattoo. She posted about why on Instagram:
“Until today, my only tattoo commemorated the end of my transition. I didn’t seriously plan to get another one, but then the world changed. One Love. One Pulse. #pulse #orlandostrong #gay#lesbian #bisexual #transgender #queer“
Jonathan Betancourt, 36, the shop’s owner, told the Associated Press he was surprised at how fast the community came together in such a short time.