Another horrific massacre targeting the LGBTQ2S+ community began near the midnight hour between Nov. 19 and Nov. 20 — Trans Day of Remembrance 2022. A heavily armed shooter murdered five and injured 18 patrons of Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Two brave customers were able to subdue and disarm the killer, preventing more lives from being lost.
Workers World Party extends our condolences and solidarity to those who lost loved ones and to the survivors of this terrible tragedy.
But we cannot contain our anger.
Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in Colorado after Denver, is home to the blatantly anti-LGBTQ2S+ group Focus on the Family. The city lies east of the state’s 3rd Congressional District, where ultra-right bigot Lauren Boebert won reelection to the House by the slimmest of margins. Boebert’s hate-filled tweets serve to foment violent attacks, such as the latest attack on Club Q.
The perpetrator of this hate crime, Anderson Lee Aldrich, is the grandson of California Republican state legislator Randy Voepel, who expressed sympathy with the right-wing mob that attacked the U.S. capitol Jan. 6, 2021.
Club Q’s owners opened the bar in 2002 to provide a permanent safe space for the community and had planned to hold a drag brunch on Trans Day of Remembrance. The timing of the mass shooting is hardly a coincidence.
Democratic politicians — up to and including President Joe Biden — have expressed condolences and condemned this monstrous hate crime. But history shows us that they cannot be relied on to protect the LGBTQ2S+ community or any oppressed community from violence, hatred or discrimination. Many of us remember how Democrats have pushed for anti-LGBTQ+ repression, including the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” and the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”
But that’s capitalist democracy, where even Boebert and Voepel and their murderous ilk can run for office and get elected.
A better example of working-class democracy in action would be the historic decades-long boycott of Coors beer, which originated in Colorado and united the LGBTQ+ community, the Chicanx community and the labor movement, pushed back bigotry and also eventually won union recognition at the Golden, Colorado, brewery.
It will take more organizing — and mass, grassroots, classwide solidarity like that — to beat back the ultra-right.
Mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living!
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