FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 20th, 2022
Statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, on the Club Q shooting:
On a day already marked by sadness, the LGBTQ+ community woke up to the tragic news that five of our community members were killed - and 18 injured - in a vicious attack on a queer nightclub in Colorado Springs. Today marks Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) - the day each year when we honor our trans siblings whose lives have been lost over the past year. We add the names of those killed last night to our hearts as we convene to remember our trans siblings who have been killed.
While we still have much to learn about the motive of the shooter, we do know that LGBTQ+ people in our country are not as safe as we deserve to be. We live in a time where anti-family and anti-equality politicians spew hate speech and attempt to strip away human rights. Books that represent us are the targets of censorship campaigns. Just last week, voters in Glen Carbon, IL voted to ban age-appropriate drag performances at schools and libraries. When you spark the match of the pandemic of gun violence on the kindling of anti-LGBTQ+ hate stoked by powerful leaders; violence erupts.
It is also important to point out that bars are our public spaces. LGBTQ+ people were not born in the same communities, raised in the same houses of worship or educated at the same schools. We have to create our own spaces where we can be out and proud and safe. For decades, our bars have provided these spaces. When we are attacked in our bars, it is an attack not just on the lives of those in attendance, but an attack on the right of all LGBTQ+ people in this country to convene in safe community with each other.
To our siblings suffering in Colorado, we send you love. To our siblings throughout Illinois, we hold you in our hearts. LGBTQ+ people deserve to be safe and affirmed in all public spaces, especially in our public spaces. Last night's shooting and the memories of those whom we honor at TDoR today prove our country has not yet delivered on that promise for LGBTQ+ people.
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