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'It is a dangerous time for LGBTQ people'

A couple weeks ago, on [the eve of] November 20th, Trans Day of Remembrance, a gunman ran into Club Q, a gay bar/lounge in Colorado Springs, Colorado, [and] injured twenty-five people, and murdered five individuals, one being a friend of mine, Daniel Aston.

These past few weeks have been surreal, and depressing, and have left me distraught over this black hole that has damaged my local community forever. Club Q is near me and I've had a history with it from doing community work in the area. Many of my friends had their queer lives begin there and were performers there. I did not know the other people that died that night but I'm still pained by this tragedy that happened in my backyard it feels. Daniel was the first friend I made in Colorado when I moved here a couple years ago. Recently, we weren't as close as we once were but nevertheless, he made a huge impact in my early days of living here. We were active in protests together. The last time I saw him was a couple months ago at a bar in Denver, he mentioned that he was proud of how far I'd come and invited me to visit him at Club Q.

If I had known that that would be the last time I'd see him, I would've held him tightly. It's hard seeing your friend's legacy connected to basically infamy, to a tragedy that has stained the community, being forever connected to the terrorist that took his and four other people's lives. Their lives were snuffed out and for what? They just wanted to enjoy a drag show, celebrate who they were and support their friends. How many shootings have to happen before America listens? How many of my friends have to die? How many queer people have to suffer/fear for their lives/die just because of who they are? If you don't like or "understand" LGBTQ people then why can't y'all leave us alone?

I feel lost and empty about the future but I will fight for Derrick Rump, Daniel Davis Aston, Kelly Loving, Raymond Green, and Ashley Paugh.

We must unite and hold homophobes/transphobes, bigoted politicians, and the government accountable for spreading and igniting a wave of these hate crimes. It is a dangerous time for LGBTQ people but now more than ever we need to fight and be loud about our identities and rights. I will not live or hide in fear, though I am fucking pissed. Please keep fighting and use that anger to make changes happen and if you're an ally on this page, PLEASE speak up about homophobia/transphobia and support/protect/be there for your queer friends. We all have such a short time on this earth and any moment could be our last, tell people you love them.

I will miss and honor your legacy, Daniel.

Here's a gofundme to help the people directly affected:

This was originally published by Lazarus Rise via their Facebook page, Missing and Unidentified LGBT Individuals. Lazarus (he/him) is a writer, artist, performer, and creative from Shreveport, Louisiana who now resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado. To stay up-to-date with Lazarus, follow him on Facebook and Instagram @dungeoncowboy.


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