This for many is a time of loss, grief, a time for anger. November 20, 2022, was Transgender Day of Remembrance – a day set aside to honor the lives of those we have already lost.  The mass shooting at Club Q on the eve of Transgender Day of Rememberance reminds us that hate and oppression do not wait — even for our grief, even for our mourning. 

We know that the violence targeted at Club Q was intentional based on gender, sexuality, and identity. With that said, it is necessary to center and recognize the disproportionate rates of violence that trans and non-binary people experience. It can be particularly painful when violence happens in places where people should feel the safest – our homes, our work, our favorite spots to gather within community. This type of violence destabilizes our own sense of safety.  

Venues like Club Q are more than a place to gather. They are often sacred spaces where chosen families are built, where knowledge and history are passed down, and where safety and acceptance are found in community.  Violence in such spaces is meant to do more than take individual lives — they are acts of terror with the intention of forcing beautiful communities further into the shadows. This violence sends the message that it is not enough to be afraid to exist in public, but we must also fear being ourselves in private too. In this way, violence like this seeks to eradicate our very existence. We grieve the lives lost last night, the bodies and hearts that are broken today, and the loss of safety and community.

At Violence Free Colorado, we stand in solidarity with all survivors of violence and terror and know that mass violence impacts all of us. We know that survivors of intimate partner violence may be re-traumatized during these times. Advocates, often survivors ourselves, feel this as well – personally and professionally. We understand that violence, fear, intimidation, and silencing are all tools of control that uphold those in power. As advocates and survivors at the state coalition, it is our job to address the connections between words and actions of people with power, and the reality of the violence they create. 

With our own hearts broken, we will continue to work — today and everyday — to call attention and challenge the cultures and beliefs that perpetuate gender based violence. We believe in a world where LGBTQ2S+ people should be free to live unapologetically in public and private spaces. We invite our member programs and community partners to reach out for support, community, and care. Please contact us.