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VIDEO: Hickenlooper Speaks on Senate Floor in Memory of Club Q Victims

Government and Politics

November 30, 2022


Hickenlooper: “It’s hard not to see this shooting in the context of a rise in hate speech toward the LGBTQ community”

“A drag queen–a supposed danger to children everywhere–courageously [fought] for her life and the lives of everyone in that bar.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper today spoke on the Senate floor in memory of the Club Q shooting victims and on the rise in hate speech targeting the LGBTQ community.

For video of Hickenlooper’s remarks, click here.

“On November 19th, the Colorado Springs LGBTQ community paid for rising hate. They paid with their lives,” Hickenlooper said on the Senate floor.

“It’s hard not to see this shooting in the context of a rise in hate speech toward the LGBTQ community. And a rise in using the community as a literal target to score cheap political points.

“Club Q is a reminder that it’s on us to maintain our hard-fought progress. We can’t slide back. The passage of the Respect for Marriage Act is a measure of hope and a reminder that which direction we go from here is very much a choice. The stakes are too high for anyone to sit on the sidelines.”

“I hoped to come to the floor to celebrate the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. A bipartisan vote to give same-sex couples equal protection under the law.

“I hoped we could reflect [on] how far we’ve come.

“But instead, a little over a week ago we were reminded how much remains to be done. How far we’ve slid back.

“On Saturday November 19, a shooter walked into Club Q, an LGBTQ haven in Colorado Springs, and killed five innocent people.

“Five people in a space where everyone is empowered to be who they are. To live as themselves–and to do so without fear. Unfortunately, that was taken away.

“It’s hard not to see this shooting in the context of a rise in hate speech toward the LGBTQ community. And a rise in using the community as a literal target to score cheap political points.

“The entire LGBTQ community has been demonized, slandered, and defamed by politicians and public figures.

“344 laws have been introduced across the country attacking the community.

“We’ve seen a resurgence of old tropes and falsehoods. And a fixation on drag shows and drag queens, with baseless claims of their danger to children.

“According to the Human Rights Campaign, during this last election alone, $50 million worth of anti-LGBTQ ads were run. At best, spreading misinformation, at worst fueling the flames of hate.

“And on November 19th, the Colorado Springs LGBTQ community paid for that hate. They paid with their lives.

“The shooter walked in–during a drag show no less–and started shooting indiscriminately.

“Several patrons, Richard Fierro and Thomas James among them, ran toward the shooting and wrestled [the gunman] to the ground, saving countless lives. Helping Richard and Thomas was a drag queen, who attacked the shooter with her heels.

“A drag queen–a supposed danger to children everywhere–courageously fighting for her life and the lives of everyone in that bar.

“We should be past this. We should all be past this. A clear majority of Americans support same-sex marriage–including a majority of young Republicans.

“And at its core, our country is about individual freedom–freedom to be the person you want to be. To live the life you choose to live, however you choose to do it, so long as it doesn’t infringe on others.

“No one in Club Q was doing anything, not a single thing, that harmed or infringed in any way the rights of anyone else.

“There are many conversations we need to have. About guns, about red flag laws, and about protecting the LGBTQ community.

“We also need to talk about the extremism terrorizing our country. A few loudmouths have set their sights on some of the most vulnerable among us. And decided to make them out to be the root of all their problems.

“So who can be surprised that someone out there decided to walk into a drag show with a gun and just start shooting?

“It doesn’t have to be this way. The Respect for Marriage Act was unthinkable not so long ago. As were openly gay senators, cabinet secretaries, or judges.

“Stonewall wasn’t just in our lifetimes, it’s a living memory.

“But we learn. We learn and we keep moving forward. Because it’s hard to demonize someone when it’s your sibling, or your child, or your best friend.

“We all know someone who could’ve been a victim, part of the shooting targeting this community.

“Club Q is a reminder that it’s on us to maintain our hard-fought progress. We can’t slide back.

“The passage of the Respect for Marriage Act is a measure of hope and a reminder that which direction we go from here is still very much a choice. The stakes are too high for anyone to sit on the sidelines.”