On Nov. 19, our LGBTQ+ friends, family and community members were once again attacked in a hateful crime in Colorado Springs. At Triad City Beat, we aim to be a community paper that recognizes, highlights and uplifts the diverse, beautiful, unique communities that make up our cities. While writing is our realm, words can’t express the hurt and pain we feel for our LGBTQ+ community today. But hear this: You are loved, you belong and we see you.

Below is a collection of statements from local organizations and community leaders who are standing in solidarity with you to show that you are not alone and that we want you here.

If you are a business or organization that wants to add your statement to the piece, please send to Sayaka at [email protected] with attribution and the name of your organization.

We also are sharing resources for those who need support at the end of this piece.

With love, the TCB team.

Jen Brown, organizer of Fearless Winston-Salem: “Fearless WS sends love and solidarity to the family, friends and community of the people impacted and harmed by the hate crime at Club Q. Hateful rhetoric isn’t a game: it is violent and deadly. Be against it or be complicit.”

Guilford Green Foundation: “We are devastated by the horrific mass shooting at Club Q over the weekend.  We mourn for those whose lives were taken, and our hearts are with their families and friends, those who survived the attack, and the Colorado community.

Throughout history, LGBTQ people have created and sought out places to gather and LGBTQ nightclubs have been one of a few places where gay people can truly be themselves. To be targeted in one of our safe places rips away the comfort we so desperately need in an increasingly hostile world. 

Violence against LGBTQ people is escalating largely due to the unfettered messaging from the far right. There are currently hundreds of anti-LGBTQ and anti-Trans bills in states across the country including HB 755 in North Carolina. 

In October, over 200 LGBTQ center leaders from across the U.S. and Canada recently gathered for our first in-person conference since 2019. Together we shared the grief and trauma our communities are experiencing and we celebrated our resilience. Our hearts are with our friends at Inside Out Youth Services in Colorado Springs who are mourning the loss of at least 5 community members and rallying to support the victims and their families during this unimaginable time of grief. 

As we head into the holiday season many of us will visit family that may not be supportive of our authentic selves. Your community center will be here for you with a kind word, a place to decompress, and a place where you are always valued.”

Dr. Michael Usey, lead pastor at College Park, an American Baptist Church: “For most white, straight, cis males (like myself), we cannot imagine living in constant fear of being murdered anytime, anywhere, because of the hate kindled by far-right politicians and fundamentalist “Christians.” In space that was a sanctuary for our LGBTQ siblings, five were slaughtered, nineteen shot, 25 wounded. Our national idolary of guns continues. As Americans, we should be ashamed; for those of us who identify as Christian, we should repent. Way too many of our fellow citizens are afraid to hold their loved one’s hands in public. This should not be. To our LGBTQ siblings in Greensboro, we see you; we love you; we will continue to fight alongside you to end this carnage.”

Bookmarks: “Our hearts go out to the victims & families of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs. Bookmarks sends love and support to the LGBTQIA+ community both here and across the country. Take care of yourself and each other.”

Carlos Bocanegra, owner of Monstercade: “This senseless and Evil tragedy highlights the importance of having LGBTQ safe places, how hateful and incendiary rhetoric has an effect on the general populace, and our URGENT need for common sense gun laws.

If you’re just sending “Thoughts and Prayers” after all we’ve endured as a society, then you aren’t an effective ally to your fellow human beings. We ALL deserve to be heard, understood, and to have safety in our day to day activities, regardless of who we love and how we live our lives.

Monstercade will be holding a fundraiser for PFLAG this Wednesday at 9pm with performances by Philip Kearns and Alex Bond, with a Dance Party Afterwards. $5 Suggested Donation.”

Rev. Matt Canniff-Kesecker, he/him, Pastor Prince of Peace Lutheran Church ELCA, Greensboro: “Queer and trans people are God’s beloved, and God’s heart breaks with every hateful attack on the LGBTQIA+ community. So do ours. We deeply grieve the lives taken and traumatized at Club Q, and we recommit ourselves to tearing down the idols of fear and violence that spawn homophobia and transphobia, particularly where they are shamefully found within the Christian church.”

Equality NC (from Sunday): “Last night, a gunman attacked Club Q, an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing 5 people and injuring 18 more. 

Today, we cannot begin to make sense of senseless violence, although we know that this is the result of the right’s culture war and the subsequent demonization of our people. From Wilmington to Apex to the Blue Ridge prides this year, we’ve seen a recurring pattern of violence and intimidation from far-right groups, who are responding to mounting political hate speech that attacks our very right to exist. This violence is underscored by hundreds of bills nationwide targeting our children, our trans children.

This shooting coincides with today’s Trans Day of Remembrance, a day for the commemoration of trans lives lost due to violence. We cannot even mourn our dead or celebrate our resistance without being massacred in our safe spaces.

There’s still a lot we don’t know, but we do know this: we are under attack. Misinformation and hate speech broadcast by some of our most powerful leaders has emboldened extremists. The result is clear: from death threats to pride organizers to bombings of bakeries hosting drag brunches, LGBTQ+ communities have been targeted across the country. Yesterday’s shooting is a horrifying escalation and a predictable outcome.

So while we grieve those who were killed in this act of senseless violence, we at ENC commit to protecting our communities from hate, today and every day, in honor of those whom we’ve lost. 

Holding our community in love today.”

Mary Garner Oden, Marketing Director of Oden Brewing Company: “We are heartbroken over the news of the shooting at Club Q, a LGBTQ+ NightClub in Colorado Springs. Folks went out that night to have fun and be themselves in a safe space. Instead they were traumatized, injured and 5 individuals never made it home. We extend our love and greatest sympathies to all those impacted by this horrible tragedy. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs as well as here at home.”

Siembra NC: ”We are deeply saddened that the lives of our trans and queer siblings in Colorado were tragically and violently taken. Too often we talk about these incidents as factors of political calculations, part of the math to be used to argue for or against anti-trans or gun control bills. Today we want to think of the siblings, tíos and tías, the friends we have lost to this incalculable violence, and remember that their lives mattered and continue to matter.”

Underground Presents: ”What happened in at Club Q in Colorado Springs is a terrifying and grim reminder that the fight for the LGBTQ+ community to just simply exist, even in our own spaces, is never ending. For this to happen so close to Trans Day of Remembrance, a day that we hold space for our trans siblings who were victims of senseless violence, is incredibly heartbreaking. Underground Presents was recently plagued with this same brand of hatred from Proud Boys last month at a benefit drag brunch in Sanford-thankfully, that event did not end in violence. But whose to say it could never happen? Especially here in the South where this brand of vitriol and bigotry is basically legalized? This tragedy SHOULD be a wake up call for our straight allies to show up for us more, not only at the polls but in the everyday. It SHOULD also be a wake up call to members of our own community who are intentionally exclusive to each other that we are only stronger when we stick together, and in these times we cannot afford to be divided. “Not again Not again. I remember waking up on June 12, 2016, hearing what happened at Pulse Night Club in Florida,” said Hysteria Cole, co-founder of Underground Presents, a traveling variety troupe, and Haus mother of the Haus of Hysterics. “I remember how I felt. I remember reaching out to my drag family that lives in Florida, because I know that Pulse is a club they would go to. If you know me or been to any of our shows then you know that I use my platform to speak out against fascists. My troupe has been recently targeted by an extremist group promoting hate. We were lucky but with an increase of these mass shootings, who is to say we won’t be (next time)?! My heart is hurting and I am angry! This is beyond disgusting. The question that sticks out to me most is, when will it end? Our hearts are with those who lost loved ones and those who were traumatized by this tragedy. Please know that Underground stands with you on the East Coast!”

Underground Presents will be hosting a raffle to benefit the families of those affected by the shooting at Club Q at the next Freaky Friday event at Monstercade on Dec. 9. Follow us on social media for more information. @underground_presents”

April Parker, community organizer: ”Homophobia is real. As we send our condolences and settle our stomachs we become increasingly aware of the needs of our community and we need to be motivated to building a culture of organizing. We need to not forget the gay agenda, we deserve safety, we deserve. As we grieve, we lead.”

William Carpenter, executive director of SECCA: ”Once again we find ourselves shocked, saddened, and angered following another act of senseless, hateful violence. By all reports, Club Q in Colorado Springs has been a place where diversity of love, friendship, and family is embraced and celebrated. We mourn this loss of life and empathize with the pain and fear experienced by the LGBTQ community. “Thoughts and prayers” are not enough in situations like this. We need material acts of love and safety, of dignity and justice. SECCA is committed to this work and it stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.”

GSO WHOA: ”We stand in complete solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community in the wake of the mass murder in Colorado Springs on the eve of Trans Remembrance Day. United, we will defeat this growing wave of hatred and violence that threatens our most vulnerable communities. In a class society that is transphobic and homophobic, these forms of bigotry are a disease perpetuated by our enemies which only serves them. To be pro-working class is to be pro-LGBTQ. To be anti-LGBTQ is to be anti-human.”

Guilford for All: “Guilford for All believes in the inherent dignity and worth of all LGBTQ+ people, and we grieve for those killed and injured in the mass shooting in Colorado Springs and those grieving a sacred and safe space in Club Q. The people who were murdered were loved, whose lives enriched the communities they were a part of. It is our collective duty to work against the rise of hateful anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans rhetoric, especially from our political leaders. When state legislators introduce “Don’t Say Gay” bills, when protesters bully and threaten drag queen storytime attendees, and when school boards ban pride flags, these actions provoke the hatred and outright violence that ends in these tragedies. As an organization whose leadership and membership is made up of LGBTQ+ people, we want to win a world where all of us are safe to thrive and free to be who we are.”

Weatherspoon Art Museum: “As these attacks spread fear toward those most vulnerable, supporting those in this community in a longer-term way via this Project may at least build some awareness for their effort. While not a solution, it might provide some guidance to those that don’t know how to help.: www.thetrevorproject.org/

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