The Owner of a Gay Club Says That the Shooting is Part of a New Type of Hate

Shooting is Part of a New Type of Hate: The co-owner of the Colorado Springs gay nightclub where a shooter turned a drag queen’s birthday party into a massacre said he thinks the shooting, which killed five people and hurt 17 others, is a sign that anti-LGBTQ feelings have changed from prejudice to incitement.

The Use of Firearms is an Example of a New Form of Hatred

The co-owner of the Colorado Springs gay bar where a gunman murdered five and injured 17 believes anti-LGBTQ sentiment has gone from prejudice to incitement. Nic Grzecka’s voice was laced with tiredness when he talked with The Associated Press on Wednesday night, his first words since Saturday’s attack at Club Q, a club he helped develop in conservative-leaning Colorado Springs.

Authorities haven’t disclosed why the suspect opened fire, but they’re facing hate crime accusations. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, hasn’t pleaded or discussed the event. Greta believes the targeting of a drag queen event is related to right-wing groups and politicians who worry about “sexualizing” or “grooming” minors. This new dynamic has generated a hazardous atmosphere, he argued, despite growing LGBTQ acceptance. “It’s different to go down the street with my partner and be spit at versus a politician comparing a drag queen to their child’s groomer,” Grzecka remarked. “I’d rather be spit on than have the hate we have now.”

Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature banned instructors from addressing gender identity or sexual orientation with younger kids this year. Human Rights Campaign report: LGBTQ references to “pedophiles” and “grooming” soared 400% in a month. “Lying about our community and making them something they’re not breeds hate,” Grzecka added.

Grzecka, who started cleaning floors and bartending at Club Q in 2003, aspires to re-establish the LGBTQ community’s support system. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden called Grzecka and co-owner Matthew Haynes on Thursday to offer condolences and reaffirm their commitment to combatting bigotry and gun violence. Grzecka described the moment when Club Q began as an evolution of homosexual bars.

Decades ago, seedy bars were for hookups and dates. Once the internet gave anonymous means to meet love online, bars changed into well-lit, clean, non-smoking locations to hang out with pals, Grzecka said. Greta helped turn Club Q into a community center and “chosen family” for LGBTQ individuals when he became co-owner in 2014. Drag queen bingo evenings, “Friendsgiving” Christmas meals, and birthday parties were Club Q highlights.

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Shooting is Part of a New Type of Hate
Greek and other community leaders seek to replace Club Q’s void following the shooting. Pikes Peak Pride organizer Justin Burns remarked, “When that system is gone, you realize how much more the bar provided.” “Where do former Club Q members go?” Burns said the shooting revealed a shortage of LGBTQ resources in Colorado Springs. Burns, Grzecka, and others are collaborating with national groups to analyze community needs and design a support network blueprint.

Grzecka wants to create a “loving culture” and support to “transform this tragedy into the best thing for the city.” Thursday was Club Q’s 10th anniversary Friendsgiving at Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church. Survivors, friends, and relatives ate donated meals near rainbow balloon towers. The meal was organized by the United Court of Pikes Peak Empire. People laughed, hugged, and recounted tales about the dead.

Grzecka: “Everyone needs community.” A stream of individuals strolled around the burned-out floral wall and vigil candles earlier that day. On one of five white crosses with wooden hearts containing mourners’ remarks, someone wrote, “I hope you dance” to victim Ashley Paugh.

“Please hear our calls” was written on a concrete barricade. Guard our house.” Jesse Bedayn is a Statehouse News Initiative corps member. Report for America places journalists in local newsrooms to cover underreported subjects.

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