As we attempt to process the devastating news of the Club Q shooting, Advocate Today host Tracy E. Gilchrist is joined by Executive Director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Kierra Johnson for an open conversation on the tragedy, discussing the pain, horror, and hope encasing it all.
Since then, an outpouring of love and support has taken over social media feeds. The irony? Many of those people offering "thoughts and prayers" are the same people that are directly supporting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and inciting anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.
"You can't say... 'This is such a tragedy,' when these tragedies are the fruit of the violence perpetuated, the anti-LGBTQ legislation," Johnson says. "These acts of violence that are happening within our community are not one-offs. They're ramping up, and we're experiencing it on an international level."
As Gilchrist notes, gay bars and clubs are a safe haven for many queer people— a place where they can go to be themselves completely. By attacking these spaces, the people seeking refuge in them can lose all sense of safety, and as a result, lose all sense of hope.
"Queer people of color, queer women and trans and nonbinary folks— their bodies are on the line," Johnson declares. "Their sanities are on the line."
Though, even in times of insurmountable pain, Johnson reminds Advocate Today viewers that love will always win over hate. And the queer community will always beat the odds.
"As many tragedies as we see, we see more acts of love and neighborliness and affirmation tenfold, probably a hundredfold, maybe a thousandfold. We are working together. We have always won in the end. It's not if we win, it's when we win."
Catch the full interview with Kierra Johnson below.