As we wait for answers to what happened and why at Club Q this past weekend, I remain heartbroken and angry. While horrifying, the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado should not come as a surprise. This is what happens when violent rhetoric and anti-LGBTQ legislation is relentlessly directed at our community.
We must come together as we learn more—to grieve and remember those we have lost, to honor the brave individuals who fought back and saved the lives of others during the attack and to fight for a comprehensive investigation and determine the motivation behind this attack. We know that gun violence is an ongoing epidemic in this country, and we must find ways to control access to and use of automatic weapons.
This is what happens when violent rhetoric and anti-LGBTQ legislation is relentlessly directed at our community.
Increased and unchecked access to firearms, coupled with the rise of violent propaganda, hateful rhetoric, and lies intended to induce hate-fueled rage, have relegated this country into a war zone. Children in school are doing active shooter drills, Black and Brown folks are being profiled, harassed, and killed just walking down the street, and LGBTQ people are regularly dehumanized and hunted like prey. It is time for our country’s leaders to stop cowering to those who use misinformed and intentionally false interpretations of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act and the 2nd Amendment. Now is the time to pass Federal nondiscrimination policy and gun reform.
We have seen too many candidates (who, if elected, are expected to represent all their constituents) run campaigns based on anti-LGBTQ fear-mongering this election cycle. In just one year, hundreds of pieces of legislation targeting LGBTQ people were introduced. Elected officials in various states have passed policies attempting to erase our community in schools and libraries. These attacks are just a few of the ways the climate of hate has taken shape. And this hate is like a virus. We need only to see the headlines to know that the hate is spreading and devastating religious minorities, Black, Indigenous, Asian, Latine and other People of Color, immigrants, and the working poor.
The people of this country deserve better from the legislators we elect. Thoughts and prayers have never been enough. We need to grieve; we need to heal, but we also need Congress to take action. And don’t worry…we will keep dancing, prancing, and living out loud, but we will also organize and fight back with ferocity, love, and truth until nondiscrimination and gun reform are realized.
The Colorado Healing Fund is raising funds to help victims and their families. Select Club Q Tragedy as your designation on the Colorado Gives 365 website. For information on Colorado resources, visit one-colorado.org.
Kierra Johnson is the Executive Director with National LGBTQ Task Force.
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