Marcus Grant | Managing Editor
Just before midnight on Saturday evening, a gunman walked into Q Nightclub in Colorado Springs and fired upon the crowd of people inside, killing 5 people and injuring 25 others from what we know right now. The suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich has been taken into custody. Patrons of the club stopped the gunman from harming more people. Prior to the event, the nightclub was considered a place of safety, acceptance, and community for LGBTQ+ people in the city.
I would like to honor each of the victims by speaking about them here:
Kelly Loving, 40, was visiting Q as a part of her weekend trip home to Denver. Her close friend, Natalee Skye Bingham, has stated that she is devastated by the event and what happened to Kelly. They had spoken over FaceTime just before the shooting. Natalee stated “she was like a trans mother to me. I looked up to her. In the gay community you create your families, so it’s like I lost my real mother almost.”
Daniel Davis Aston, 28, was the youngest son of Sabrina Aston. He had moved to Colorado from Oklahoma. He worked at the club and was described as a drag king, performer, and bartender by friends.
Derrick Rump, a co-owner of the club, was described as bubbly and comical. Tiara Latrice Kelley, a performer at Club Q says that “he was all about keeping people happy.”
I have yet to find information regarding the other two victims but will update this section as more information comes out.
President Joe Biden released a statement on Sunday, stating “places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence. Yet it happens far too often. We must drive out the inequalities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people.”
Republican politicians like Colorado District 3 congresswoman, Lauren Boebert, have come out expressing their feelings of remorse for the community. Many members of the LGBTQI+ community have been quick to remind us all that the harmful rhetoric that queer people are groomers and pedophiles in addition to the GOP’s regular promotion of firearms directly contributes to violent attacks of terror on queer communities. Regarding Boebert specifically, we can look at some of the statements she has made regarding queer people. A twitter post she made reads “Take your children to CHURCH, not drag bars.” She has stated that people should not be allowed to come out as LGBTQ+ until they are 21 and that LGBTQ+ people are “spitting in God’s face” and “perverting” the nation. With this in mind, it is hard to accept Boebert's sentiments as genuine.
There is no doubt in my head that the timing of the attack on the Q nightclub, the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), was intentional. Q Nightclub is the only gay club in the city. As far as we currently know, two victims were transgender. The club regularly hosted drag performances on Saturdays. Club Q had posted on Facebook that they were hosting a “musical drag brunch” the next morning, in honor of TDOR.
The regular depiction of queer people, especially transgender and gender non-conforming people, as dangerous to women, children, and society fuels terror attacks on members of the community. The influx in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and the continual rhetoric against queer people by politicians reinforces the idea that it is acceptable to attack and kill the community and hateful people feel encouraged to do so in the name of their political beliefs. Queer people and trans activists in particular have been saying that the rhetoric surrounding the community would lead to massive attacks for months, only to be brushed off and told that they are overreacting.
I am heartbroken for the victims who died needlessly. I am enraged for members of the LGBTQ+ community – the community of my friends and I – that we have seen our spaces of acceptance and love turn into places of fear and violence. I can only hope that something positive can come of this and that the tragedy will inspire people who claim to be allies to speak out against LGBTQ+ hate and to take steps that increase the safety of not only queer people but members of all minorities.
If you are looking to donate, The Denver Post has listed these fundraisers to provide funds to the victims and their families:
“The Colorado Healing Fund activated a fund to support victims of the Club Q tragedy. The donation link is: coloradogives.org/organization/COHealingFund.
“GoFundMe verified the following two fundraisers: