UTAH (ABC4) — Pain and heartache pervaded the country following a shooting at an LGBTQ night club in Colorado Springs last Saturday, Nov. 19. Here in Utah, several LGBTQ groups are in mourning.
Jakey Siolo, the director of the Nuanua Collective, stood solemnly against a backdrop of hundreds of transgender flags at Washington Square Park this Monday morning. Last weekend’s shooting came during Transgender Awareness Week and right before Sunday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, where memorials and vigils are held to remember transgender people whose lives have been lost from acts of violence.
“I think I am tired of waking up and reading about safe, inclusive spaces that are terrorized by violence,” Siolo said.
Police say a gunman opened fire at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub, in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Nov. 19, killing five people and injuring 25.
“My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by this, and the pain and suffering it has caused them… I just send my love,” said Jordan Jackson, the executive director of LGBTQ.UT.
This weekend was especially heartbreaking when the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse, an LGBTQ nightclub in Orlando, Flo., that left 49 dead is still on many people’s minds.
“What went through my mind first was the Pulse night club shooting and just how history and society haven’t changed a whole lot,” Jackson said.
Siolo commented that events like these do stick with him and his friends when they go to LGBTQ clubs or bars.
“It’s sad because my friends and I do joke about where are the exits,” Siolo said.
He added that now is the time for conversations to prevent any more of these tragedies.
“We need to have those hard conversations. What are the risks of going to local gay bars and what is the community response we will have? I think it’s important we prepare for cases like that,” Siolo said. “I think it’s important we take our voice and allyship further than posting and resharing this tragedy. Continually, we see thoughts and prayers after an event like this, and then we will forget about it this coming Monday. It’s important we don’t forget about it and actually take it to action and implement, whether it be policies or community change.”
He also said it’s important to come together following such a devastating event and make sure your LGBTQ loved ones feel supported.
“It’s just like…fine grounding ourselves, reconnecting with one another, reconnecting with our community, checking in with one another,” he said. “Be vocal — Expressing how you feel about it, demanding change, both on a city level and on the [Capitol Hill] through legislation.”
Here is a list of LGBTQ resources in Utah: