Tucson LGBTQ+ community overwhelmed with emotion after deadly shootings in Colorado Springs

KMSB News 9-10 p.m. recurring
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 10:02 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The LGBTQ+ Community in Tucson is speaking out following the deadly shootings at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs over the weekend.

The suspect, 22-year-old Anderson Aldrich opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle, killing five people and wounding 17 others.

Aldrich is facing five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury.

Members of the local LGBTQ+ community say their scared, frustrated and fed up.

“I still can’t get over the fact that people can be driven to hate people who just really want to love who they want to love,” said Melissa Cordero.

This isn’t the first shooting at a gay nightclub, and they’re worried it won’t be the last.

At this rate, Cordero said people getting shot just for being themselves and says something needs to be done before something happens at a nightclub or bar in southern Arizona.

“It is true. Five days after we get a rush of Instagram posts then what,” said Cordero. “It goes quiet, everyone goes back to their lives. We see this in other communities as well when other communities are attacked.”

Joanna Marroquin said something needs to change. She said the hurt is so deep she has a hard time explaining it.

“I get teary-eyed right now just thinking about families, brothers, sisters, moms, kids, people that are in our community, and I think the hardest part is that people are losing their lives to violence that doesn’t have to be there,” Marroquin said.

Elena Joy Thurston is a parent to kids who are also part of the LGBTQ+ Community. She said it’s a big weight to carry, knowing their safety is on the line.

“As parents we have to walk this line of really supporting our kids to be authentic and not care about what anyone thinks of them, to find that joy within themselves,” said Thurston. “Every parent wants that but at the same time we have to think about at the same time, is it safe for my kid to be who they are.”

Erin Russ said it’s now up to people outside the community to educate themselves and learn how to be understanding.

“Other people who may not be part of our community. May be friends but think they’re allies, need to be more willing to say in public forum when they hear people make anti-LGBTQ, racial jokes. They need to stand up and say that’s wrong,” Russ said.

Thurston said this is also an opportunity to be a friend, to make a point to choose love instead of hate.

“This is an opportunity to be able to deepen that relationship or trust. And all you have to say is how are you doing, I know this happened to your community, how are you doing? It doesn’t take any money, it takes hardly anytime but the relationships you can form with friends and coworkers can really deepen and increase a sense of safety and belonging just by starting the conversation,” said Thurston.

According to Human Rights Campaign, there have been 32 transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals who have been killed in the U.S. in 2022 in acts of transphobic violence.

This number is expected to increase in light of the recent shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.