Minutes to midnight this past Saturday, on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, a 22-year-old gunman opened fire inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The murderous assault, which is currently under investigation by the FBI, killed five people and injured 18 more.
Leia-jhene Seals was performing at Club Q Saturday night when alleged shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich began his assault inside the LGBTQ nightclub. Seals, pictured above, hugs R.J. Lewis, who was also at Club Q that night.
Atlas Pretzeus, left, and her friends hug one another as they pay respects at a makeshift memorial near Club Q. The trio has close friends that are victims of the shooting.
Club Q, founded over 20 years ago by Matthew Haynes, was the last remaining gay bar in Colorado Springs. As an increasingly anti-gay political climate sweeps across the country, safe spaces like Club Q are vital for the LGBTQ community’s survival.
Ren Kurgis, left, and Jessie Pacheco leave flowers at the growing memorial outside Club Q in Colorado Springs.
The nightclub had felt like a haven in a conservative city long known for anti-gay activism. “This club was a refuge for our community,” said Bird Berg, who attended a vigil with her wife. “I’m completely devastated.”
In the wake of this tragic event, Colorado Springs hosted vigils across the city. These tearful photos show, even though Colorado Springs’ LGBTQ community members have lost their meeting house, they can still find refuge with each other.
Club Q shooting vigil attendee pictured wearing a pin that says, “You are not alone.”
Jessi Hazelward, right, wipes a tear from her friend’s face, Amanda Grueschow, during a vigil for the victims.
Flower bouquets, candles, and other items were collected together to make a makeshift memorial near Club Q.