BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - The tragic mass shooting in Orlando has many Coast residents from the LGBT community calling for tighter security measures at gay clubs and events. They're willing to do whatever it takes to protect and save lives.
"For one person to be able to walk in and shoot 50 people and injure 53 more is just ridiculous," said John Perkins, President of CAYA.
Perkins is heart broken.
"The LGBT community is one family and it's just like losing someone that we know," said Perkins.
Perkins is president of the coastwide organization CAYA: Come As You Are, which promotes equality for all.
"Right now, everyone is scared in the community. Could it happen at another bar? Could it happen anywhere, really?"
In the wake of the terror attack in Orlando, the CAYA president is calling for tighter security measures at gay clubs, starting with the patrons.
"The first thing I think community members need to be vigil of their surroundings and if they see anything suspicious they need to let somebody know," explained Perkins.
June is gay pride month, and there will be parades and celebrations at gay clubs across the nation.
"I'm getting ready to fly to San Francisco for the pride event there. These plans have been in place for quite a while. I have a feeling that is going to be one of the safest places to be in the United States because it's going to be seriously covered with security," said Bay St. Louis resident Pat Robinson.
Perkins would like to see increased security measures at all gay clubs and events. Metal detectors, all purses and bags checked before anyone is allowed to enter. The female impersonators who perform drag shows would be most impacted. They often carry their outfits and make-up in suitcases.
"As a performer, I would definitely be willing to waive those rights to be searched, if need be, to keep everyone safe and keep me safe as well," said drag show performer Trevor Ladner.
They say the cost for increased security measures should be shared by both the club owner and the customers.
"I produce drag shows myself, but if it's $5 to get in and I'm asking for an extra dollar to cover the extra cop, I don't think $6 is prohibitive to stay safe," Robinson said.
The LGBT community members we spoke with say the need for heighten security is year round, not just during Gay Pride Month.