Opinion: Your thoughts and prayers got us here.

A+pride+flag+flies+in+the+window+of+a+local+business+in+Colorado+Springs%2C+CO%2C+after+the+Club+Q+shooting%2C+on+Wednesday.+

Lauren Stovall

A pride flag flies in the window of a local business in Colorado Springs, CO, after the Club Q shooting, on Wednesday.

The Prairie News is a student-led free press. All opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer and not those of WTAMU.

Right around midnight on Nov 20, 2022, as the day turned to the Transgender Day of Remembrance, five people were shot dead while 25 others were injured at Club Q in Colorado Springs, CO.  This event, while heartbreaking, does not surprise me.  

While we would like to imagine that the shooting at Club Q was an isolated tragedy by one lone madman, the truth is that this shooting is a direct result of the growing hatred for Queer Americans by the Religious Right.  Over the past years, conservative Americans have made the LGBTQ+ community their scapegoat for all that is wrong in the world.  In their eyes, anyone who falls under the Queer umbrella is a pedophile, a groomer, a Satanist, a terrorist, and a threat to all things American.  Instead of seeing Queer Americans as fellow human beings, many members of the Religious Right view us as less than human.    

While such a movement would be concerning at any level, what makes this so frightening and influential is the prevalence of anti-LGBT rhetoric in mainstream politics.  Politicians, including Florida Governor Rond DeSantis; Colorado’s 3rd congressional district representative, Lauren Boebert; former Vice President Mike Pence and Fox News host Glenn Beck have all been extremely outspoken in their anti-Queer beliefs in both their language and their policies.

This movement is even more prominent at the local level. Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson released an official statement earlier this week in response to outcries against an upcoming drag show. While she can not keep the event from happening, she is “praying that those who don’t know Jesus or His grace will meet Him in Amarillo and be changed forever.”  The implication is clear and undeniable.  

Like most movements, the religion-fueled hatred of the far-right is not limited to politics.  As a lesbian, I have experienced this hatred firsthand.  In my three years of being out, I have encountered far too many people who see my existence as not only an insult to, but a threat to common decency.  I have been called slurs, harassed, looked at with general contempt, lost friends and have even been told to take my own life because I have already committed an “unforgivable sin.”  

Every time I come out to a new person, I have to ask myself, “will this person accept me,” and “will this person want to hurt me?”  I am in a privileged place as a cis-gendered lesbian- if I feel unsafe, I can “pass” as straight very easily.  Many do not have that privilege, and suffer as a direct result.    

The massacre in Colorado Springs was a tragedy, no doubt, but a regrettably predictable one.  When a movement based on religious extremism, with no room for tolerance, gets as large as the Religious Right has in the United States, it should surprise no one when ideas turn to real-world violence.  “While many in the Religious Right movement may believe wholeheartedly that they are doing the right thing, it is simply undeniable that the movement does more harm than it does good. 

Queer people are just that- people.  We live like anyone else, trying to exist in a chaotic world.  We are involved in our communities and strive to better them.  We are not trying to destroy America or brainwash your children- we exist the same way any other American does, with the only difference being that we are Queer.  The Religious Right movement serves one central goal- to divide us and foster hatred.    

I ask you, reader, to look at others with empathy and to pay attention to those who seek to divide us.  We are all human, and we must treat each other with love and respect, regardless of our differences.  You will often find that we are more alike than you might have thought. 

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