After five people were killed in an apparent hate crime in Colorado Springs over the weekend, local advocacy group Basic Rights Oregon is offering a message of support to the LGBTQ+ community.
The group’s communications manager, Blair Stenvick, said gathering places such as Club Q, where the shooting happened, are still profoundly important.
“For a lot of folks, a space like that, whether it’s a bar or a club or a community center, or just a friend group, that might be the one place where we can be fully ourselves,” Stenvick said. “We might not be affirmed or even able to be out at work or with our family or just out in the general space. So when one of those spaces is attacked, it is just a really brutal reminder that we aren’t always safe ... simply because of who we love or or who we are. And that’s wrong. But it just highlights how important these spaces are.”
Stenvick added that, while physical spaces can be attacked, what the community has accomplished together cannot be taken away by one person with a gun: “Our community has been through a lot of different challenges throughout the decades, and we’ve always managed to take care of each other. I think that’s really important to remember in times like this.”
Oregon has seen an increase in violent rhetoric against LGBTQ+ people. Stenvick warned that hate speech has consequences.
“When you put those kinds of words out into the world, I think you have to understand that you’re potentially inciting real physical violence,” they said.
Basic Rights Oregon also shared a reminder that resources are available for anybody who has been affected by news of the shooting.
Basic Rights Oregon, the statewide advocacy organization for LGBTQ2SIA+ Oregonians, is heartbroken to learn of a mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs, Saturday night.— Basic Rights Oregon 🌈 (@basicrights) November 20, 2022
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Related: What we know about the shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ club