‘Shame on you’: Club Q survivors blame violence on GOP rhetoric

Anderson and Slaugh

Survivors of the Colorado Springs Club Q attack told members of Congress that they believe the shooting was the result of escalating anti-LGBTQ rhetoric from Republican politicians.

Michael Anderson and James Slaugh, two survivors of the shooting at Club Q, testified during the House Oversight Committee’s hearing on ‘The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States’ this week.

The hearing occurred as a response to the nationwide wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation and an increase anti-LGBTQ hate crimes.

“To the politicians and activists who accuse LGBTQ people of grooming children and being abusers: shame on you,” said Anderson before the members of congress.

“As leaders of our country, it is your obligation to represent all of us, not just the ones you happen to agree with.

“Hate speech turns into hate action, and actions based on hate almost took my life from me, at 25 years old.

I beg you all to consider your words before you speak them, for someone may use those words to justify action — action that may take someone’s life.”

Anderson, who was bartending the night of the attack, also recounted the horrific experience of witnessing the violence first-hand.

“I ran for my life that night, praying and hoping the violence would end,” he said.

He went on to describe still being able to hear the rapid sound of bullets firing across Club Q and seeing a friend “bleeding out” on the ground.

“I had to tell him goodbye while fearing for my life,” he said.

“Hateful people want to drive us back into closets and live our lives in fear,” Slaugh said, following Anderson.

“But we cannot be afraid. No bullets will stop us from being proud of who we are or will injure the support and love that exists in our community.”

‘Groomer’ rhetoric

The accusations of grooming Anderson mentions are in reference to the recent upswing of the term ‘groomer’ being co-opted to depict LGBTQ+ people as predators.

California state senator Scott Wiener described the use of the term ‘groomer’ as a “categorically anti-LGBTQ hate word”, linking the usage of the word to the rise of violence.

Just three days after the Club Q shooting, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a notable proponent of the term, responded to Wiener’s claims by doubling down and calling him a ‘groomer’ as well.

As noted by Olivia Hunt, the policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, the usage of the term is completely baseless.

The term works to erase the fact that LGBTQ people are more likely to be victims than perpetrators of sexual abuse, according to Hunt, in addition to also framing them as predators.

Republican push-back

Republican member James Comer sharply pushed back on the remarks made by Anderson, defending Republicans against the claim that they were contributing to violence.

Comer shared his “thoughts and prayers” with the survivors of the Club Q attack, victims and their families, before assuring, “Republicans condemn violence in all forms.

“Unfortunately, Democrats are using committee time and resources today to blame Republicans for this horrendous crime.

“This is not an oversight hearing. This is a ‘blame Republicans so we don’t have to take responsibility for our own defund the police and soft on crime policies.’”

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Nate Woodall

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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