Molly Kester said she was speechless when she heard about the Orlando massacre.
"I was amazed that something like this could happen in this country," said the president of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Rainbow Center. "But also not shocked that it happened."
But Kester also said the mass shooting was helping build bonds among the LGBT community and with its straight allies.
"A lot of this is trying to drive us back underground," she said. "But we're not going away."
State and local officials have also been responding to the attack.
Flags in Biloxi will be lowered to half-mast to honor the victims.
Please join Deborah and me in praying for God's peace and comfort for those affected by the horrific act of terror in Orlando.— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) June 12, 2016
Retweeted Mark Gladney (@GladneyWins2016):— David Baria (@dbaria) June 12, 2016
Our hearts and prayers are with the families and friends of the Orlando shooting tragedy.
This is incredible. God bless our officersand responders. https://t.co/j5o0xTWUR6— Senator Josh Harkins (@SenatorHarkins) June12, 2016