Club at center of shooting founded in honor of HIV victim

ORLANDO, USA – The nightclub Pulse that was the site of the deadliest mass shooting in US history was co-founded by a woman whose brother died in 1991 after battling HIV, and called itself "more than 'just another gay club.'"

Barbara Poma and her older brother John grew up in a strict Italian-American family that did not condone homosexuality. But when John came out as gay, the family's outlook transitioned to "one of acceptance and love," the club said on its website.

In 2004, Barbara Poma and a friend opened the club Pulse to keep her brother's spirit alive, and named it in honor of John's heartbeat.

"Utilizing a venue built on family and drive, Pulse Orlando continues to make strides towards equality, awareness and LOVE for all," the site said.

Pulse, which featured drag shows and was hosting a Latin-themed party the night of the shooting, worked to raise HIV awareness and education through supporting various organizations and events including Equal at UCF, Make A Wish, and the Gay Games.

US President Barack Obama has made gay rights one of the signature issues of his administration.

Last summer the US Supreme Court issued a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country– Rappler.com