In what is said to be the "worst terror attack" in American history since 9/11, a lone gunman armed with an assault rifle shot and killed 50 people and injured 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on Sunday.
As a mark of defiance and protest against the ghastly attack targeted at the LGBT community, social media users from across the world have been posting pictures of men kissing or embracing using the hashtag "twomenkissing".
YOU CAN WOUND US, KILL US, ATTACK US, PROPOSE BILLS TO TAKE AWAY OUR RIGHTS. YOU CAN JUDGE US, BULLY US, PROJECT YOUR FEARS ON TO US, YOU CAN CENSOR US, IGNORE US, BUT YOU WILL NEVER STOP US. WE ARE A COMMUNITY OF SURVIVORS. WE HAVE BATTLED PERSECUTION FROM OUR FAMILIES, OUR COMMUNITIES AND OUR GOVERNMENTS. WE LIVED THROUGH A PLAGUE. WE HAVE ALWAYS DARED TO LET OUR DREAMS REACH BEYOND US. EVERY TIME WE GOT KNOCKED DOWN, WE GOT RIGHT BACK UP. #twomenkissing #lovefororlando (caption repost @gayletter Photo by Matthew Brookes @matthewbrookesphoto ).
The shooter, who was later shot dead by the police, has been identified as Omar Mateen who pledged allegiance to ISIS in a phone call to emergency number 911 during the attack.
Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard who was born in New York to Afghan parents, called 911 after his initial assault on the dance club to pledge allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, law enforcement officials were quoted as saying by media reports.
During the call, he also mentioned the Boston bombers -- Tsarnaev brothers, who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
He made the 911 call from a bathroom of the gay club in Orlando, Florida. During the call he gave his full name, officials said.