Mass shooting reminds America that queer people are perpetually unsafe


Alex Glennon

Queer people face life-threatening adversity when trying to enjoy the night life that straight people are able to enjoy.

Tommy Glennon, Copy Editor

A gunman opened fire at a queer nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Nov. 19, killing five attendants and injuring an estimated 25 more.

This news comes only six years after the last mass shooting targeting an LGBTQ hub in Orlando, Florida.

Correlation cannot be drawn between the two in regards to motives. While the Orlando nightclub shooting was rooted in religious homophobia, the motives driving Colorado Springs suspect Anderson Lee Aldrich are far less clear.

Aldrich, a non-binary 22-year old, has little known motivation to commit such an atrocity against the queer community. However, hints of their motive may lie buried in their childhood. 

Aldrich’s father, renowned MMA fighter and adult film actor Aaron Brink, touted anti-queer sentiments shortly after learning of the allegations against his child. “OK, well… he’s accused of doing that, I’m glad he’s not gay. I can say that, I’m glad he’s not gay,” Brink commented to the New York Post.

Still, the sentiment that queer gatherings are in constant danger is indicative of the dangerous climate that has brewed in the United States for the duration of the country’s very existence.

Queer people often cite a specific incident as the origin of LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S.: the Stonewall Inn riots.

On June 24, 1969, the riots took place, marking a historic date for the queer community. The Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in Manhattan, was raided by police, leading to riots involving nearly 600 people, culminating on June 28, 1969. Marsha P. Johnson, a Black trans woman and prominent figure in queer history, was immortalized when she threw the first brick at police, inciting the riots.

Queer history has its very roots in an attack on LGBTQ+ nightlife, but many queer people are incredibly concerned about their safety at queer clubs and bars. 

PV Alum Roger Pavey has experienced nightlife at Iowa City’s premier LGBTQ+ bar, Studio 13. “With how frequent attacks are at queer nightclubs, I don’t feel very safe at Studio 13.”

It would seem that global terrorist attacks on the queer community are on the rise. In June, Oslo, Norway was the site of a shooting at the London Pub, a queer bar, where two people were killed. And the Stonewall Inn saw two instances of queer hate attacks in 2010 and 2016, respectively. 

“Still, the queer community is resilient. Its history is intertwined with these types of attacks.” Pavey concludes. “If any community can celebrate the lives of those lost in homophobic attacks, it’s the LGBTQ+ community.”