Queer people deserve to live

It shouldn’t need to be said


Photo by Shanna Lewis / KRCC News / Contributor

A candlelight vigil held for the victims of the Club Q shootings.

Raymond Green Vance.

Daniel Aston.

Ashley Green Paugh.

Derrick Rump.

Kelly Loving.

These are the names of the victims that died when a gunman opened fire at Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, on Nov. 19. A total of 22 others were injured, and it might have even been worse if not for the courage of a few heroic bystanders.

Hate crime charges filed against the perpetrator and some surrounding evidence point to one conclusion:

The victims were murdered because they were queer.

This atrocity is the likely culmination of recent and relentless rhetoric from right-wing figures attacking the LGBTQ+ community.

At best, they spread ideas that could lead someone to do something this terrible.

At worst, they might as well have loaded the gun.

These are the same people pushing harmful groomer narratives, denying gender affirming healthcare to transgender youth and that have a Supreme Court Justice suggesting that the legalization of gay marriage be “reconsidered”.

The same side that ignored the AIDS epidemic.

These killings are yet another tragedy in a long and deeply infuriating line of violence against the LGBTQ+ community, a group that I am a part of.

When I heard the news of what happened that fateful Saturday evening, it broke my heart. I felt a profoundly deep despair bubble to the surface, along with a deluge of tears. The shock I felt at such senseless, unprovoked violence was beyond description.

It has been over 50-years since Stonewall, the protests which sparked the fires of queer liberation. It feels like so much has changed since then, but also that nothing has.

It is in periods like these, full of quietly mournful days and sleepless nights, that I am reminded of the danger of loving differently.

I am reminded that it could be friends or family next time.

I am reminded that it could be me.

It is a terrifying thought, knowing that I am at so much risk because of something I cannot ever hope to change.

I often wonder if pessimism is the way forward, the means to best maintain sanity in a world inhospitable to my very existence.

And yet, I always find myself inspired to continue fighting despite the odds.

After all, progress is clearly being made, albeit at a snail’s pace. Congress recently did pass legislation finally protecting same-sex marriage, with a surprising amount of bipartisan support. It is obviously a watershed moment, but it is hard to celebrate what should be considered the abject, barest of minimums.

We have to demand more.

If there is anything to glean from this atrocity, it is that we cannot ever give up the struggle for queer rights, in order to ensure that this awful action never gets repeated.

The stakes are undeniably life-or-death.