On Saturday, November 19th, 2022, a gunman walked into Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, and murdered five people while injuring 25 others.
I think it is important to first remember the five lost. While the police have not released all the names yet, we know two victims were bartenders, and their names are Derrick Rump and Daniel Aston. Rump was a Colorado College graduate and Aston was a 28-year-old transgender man who worked as an entertainer at the bar as well as a bartender.
What Happened at Club Q?
Police have identified the suspected gunman as Anderson Lee Aldrich, a 22-year-old. After Aldrich opened fire, one of the club’s patrons grabbed the handgun from Aldrich and then hit him with it. Matthew Haynes, one of the club owners, detailed what happened based on the security tapes. “One customer took down the gunman and was assisted by another. He saved dozens and dozens of lives. Stopped the man cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him.”
That man was a hero and seemingly did all of that without a gun or any weapon. He and another person held on to Aldrich until the police came.
It is hard not to think of the 2016 massacre at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. 49 people died, and 53 others were wounded. Adding more pain is the knowledge that November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance in our community.
According to The New York Times, Mayor Suthers said the shooting “has all the appearances of being a hate crime” and President Biden also addressed the discriminatory actions. “Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence,” the president said in a statement. “We cannot and must not tolerate hate.”
CNN just shared, “Anderson Aldrich is facing five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury, according to an online docket in El Paso County courts. Aldrich remains hospitalized following injuries sustained during the incident, and charges have not been formally filed.”
My heart felt heavy when I saw the news alert and then it also got angry. This is what happens when the LGBTQ community is described by the Right as groomers or even when celebrities insist on making comments weaponizing so-called “family values” and “traditional marriage” at the clear expense of LGBTQ people. When our identities become politicized in order to justify another group’s bias, that impacts our communities and leads to this violence.
I am heartbroken and sad, but I also want those who say words about not tolerating hate to make sure they are protecting us. Protecting our community and ensuring that they call out the other side, instead of always trying to pretend we can compromise with people who think we are degenerates doomed to Hell. Keep your prayers, stop criminalizing being a queer person to your followers.
(via CBS News, image: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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