Photo: Canadian Press
WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 23, 2022 Club Q co-owner Nic Grzecka unveiled the exterior of City Hall on Wednesday November 23, 2022 to mark the weekend’s shooting at a gay nightclub. embrace supporters after the 25-foot historic pride flag is unfurled to cover the in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Known as Section 93 of the Sea to Sea Flag, this flag is on loan from the Sacred Cloth Project to Colorado Springs for his two weeks.
The co-owner of a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, where a shooter turned a drag queen’s birthday celebration into a massacre, said the incident, which left five dead and 17 injured, sparked an outcry that escalated from prejudice to sedition. He said he thought it was a reflection of LGBTQ sentiment. .
Nic Grzecka’s voice took on a weariness after speaking to The Associated Press on Wednesday night after Club Q was attacked on Saturday night.
Authorities have not revealed why the suspect opened fire on the club before being subdued by patrons, but he faces hate crime charges. , has not filed a petition or spoken out about the incident.
Grzetzka said the drag queen event was targeted in recent months as right-wing activists and politicians complained about the “sexualization” and “grooming” of children, and that the art form went wrong. He said he thinks it has something to do with being viewed.
He said this new dynamic fostered a dangerous atmosphere, despite the growing general acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
“It’s not like walking down the street holding your boyfriend’s hand and spitting on politicians who associate drag queens with their children’s groomers,” Grzetzka said. I hate it when it gets as bad as where we are today. ”
Earlier this year, Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature passed a bill banning teachers from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation with younger students. A month later, references to ‘pedophile’ and ‘grooming’ related to LGBTQ people increased by 400%, according to a Human Rights Campaign report.
“Lying about our community and making them not what they are creates a different kind of hate,” Grzecka said.
Grusetzka, who began mopping floors and bartending in 2003, a year after Club Q opened, channeled his grief and anger into rebuilding the support system for Colorado Springs’ LGBTQ community that only Club Q provided. He said he wanted to turn to
City and state officials have offered to help, and President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden reached out to Grzecka and co-owner Matthew Haynes on Thursday to offer their condolences and support to the community. reiterated his commitment to hatred and counterattack. gun violence.
Club Q opened after the only other gay bar in Colorado Springs at the time closed, Grzecka said, describing the era as the evolution of the gay bar.
Decades ago, dingy, hole-in-the-wall venues were primarily for finding hookups and dates. Transformed into a bright, clean and smoke-free space to do so, Club Q has been a pioneer in that transition.
Grzecka, who became co-owner in 2014, sees Club Q as more than just a nightlife venue, but a place to create “chosen families” for LGBTQ people, especially those who have been estranged from their biological families. It helped shape it as a platform. Drag queen bingo nights, ‘Friendsgiving’, Christmas dinners and birthday celebrations have become staples at Club Q 24/7.
After the shooting, Gurdzetzka and other community leaders want to fill the gaping hole left by Club Q’s desecration.
Pikes Peak Pride organizer Justin Burns said: “Where are the people who may or may not have been part of the Club Q family going?”
Barnes said the shooting put an end to a widespread shortage of resources for LGBTQ adults in Colorado Springs. Burns, Grzecka, and others are working with national organizations to assess community needs and create blueprints for providing robust support networks.
Grzetzka aims to rebuild “a culture of love” and the support it needs to “make this tragedy the best it can be for the city.”
It started Thursday night when Club Q’s 10th Anniversary Friendsgiving was held at the non-denominational Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church. Survivors, community members, friends and family shared a donated meal under a string of lights near the Rainbow Balloon Tower.
Hosted by LGBTQ group United Court of Pikes Peak Empire, the upbeat atmosphere of the dinner felt resilience. People smiled, hugged and told stories of those who lost their lives from the podium.
“Everybody needs community,” Grzetzka said.
Earlier in the day, at a memorial service, little by little people walked slowly along a wall of flowers and burnt-out memorial candles.
“I hope you’ll dance,” someone wrote to victim Ashley Poe, one of five white crosses carved with wooden hearts engraved with the names of those who died, A scribbled note was written by a mourner.
On the concrete wall reads: “Hear our call. Defend us, our home.”