DES MOINES, Iowa — Sunday was already set to be a solemn day for the LGBTQ community. A deadly shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado made the day even more painful and highlighted the bigotry and hate they still face.
“Shock and disgust is perhaps an understatement,” said Damian Thompson of Iowa Safe Schools, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ youth in Iowa. “If you’re using terminology that casts members of the LGBTQ community with a wide brush as predators, criminals, or mentally ill, you’re inspiring these hateful incidents.”
At least five people were killed and 25 others were wounded when a man opened fire at Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Thompson said the incident hits close to home because many LGBTQ Iowans choose to move to Colorado when looking for more accepting communities.
“If you look at Colorado and its political makeup, it has trended more progressively,” Thompson said. “There are large numbers of the LGBT community that live and feel safe there.”
Even before the shooting, the LGBTQ community was prepared to mourn during the weekend.
Sunday was Transgender Remembrance Day; Des Moines marked the occasion by flying an LGBTQ-themed city flag above City Hall and by lighting Cowles Commons with the colors of the transgender flag.
Thompson said he is proud allyship has reached this point but said the Colorado Springs shooting shows the divide that still exists.
“It really just goes to show that the work is needed, and we are far from done fighting this battle,” Thompson said.