Wyoming Equality is appalled and deeply saddened by the Nov. 20 shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs which left at least five people dead and 25 others wounded. This atrocity comes immediately before Trans Day of Remembrance, when we remember and honor trans and non-binary people who died violently in the last year.
Scott Cheney of the Wyoming Aids Alliance and the Stilettos drag troupe writes “In our safe places, we seek to create a place of happiness and joy. But there are people in this world who hate us. And it is too easy for those people to enact their hate in devastating ways. We will mourn our friends and allies, but this action of hate will not stop us; it will only create a force within us because, if we are to give up, then hate wins.”
It is impossible to divorce the murder of five people in a queer space from the broader rhetoric in our country. The conversation around LGBTQ people in our country, including in Wyoming, has fueled too much hate. Falsehoods and fears, disseminated every day by news outlets, amplified by public ignorance, and given an air of legitimacy by anti-LGBTQ legislation, can be tied directly to what happened on Nov. 20, 2022.
This conversation must improve. Wyoming must hold itself accountable. To spread or validate misinformation is to be complicit in exactly this kind of violence. This holds especially true for leaders in Wyoming: legislators, educators, and journalists.
Casper and Cheyenne have set a positive example with their biased crime ordinances, as has Laramie with its anti-discrimination ordinance. While ordinances like this cannot prevent what happened in Colorado Springs, they give communities vital tools to respond.
The only prevention for what happened on the night of Nov. 20, 2022 is for communities to stand up against hate and bigotry. And this is what we ask of Wyoming:
Reach out to support your LGBTQ friends and neighbors. Send a text or call them — we need to know you care.
Demand conversations in our state that do not actively fuel violence. Hold media and community leaders accountable for what they say, and how they say it.