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People kneel at a memorial for Club Q shooting victims

The Advocate Channel 's top reporters sit down for an honest conversation on the heartbreaking tragedy.

Following the tragic events in Colorado Springs, CO where five people were killed at a gay nightclub, The Advocate Channel 's Stephen Walker, Tracy E. Gilchrist, and Christopher Wiggins sat down to discuss the horror that transpired.

On Saturday night, another 20 people were injured in the mass shooting at Club Q, the oldest queer club in the area. The bar had a drag brunch scheduled for the next morning, making it a target for far-right violence, as The Advocate Channel 's national reporter Christopher Wiggins explains.

"There's been a lot of attacks on the LGBTQ community and the trans community, and it's been a lot of inflation with drag performance," he says. "So, unfortunately, it seems as though it wouldn't take much of a leap to assume that -- if this does turn out that this is a hate motivated crime -- that those elements will have contributed to it."

"It's hard to think the visibility of our community makes us a target," Stephen Walker of AC 24/7 adds.

But host of Advocate Today Tracy E. Gilchrist believes mainstream media has been having the wrong conversations about the shooter.

"I'm also kind of tired of these ideas of, well, 'what is the motive?' I feel like the motive is almost always hate," she says. "It just kind of blows my mind that we ponder, 'What's the motive?' It's almost always homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism -- it's almost always that. As a newsperson, I'm supposed to be neutral, but as a queer woman, I am really just feeling these conversations are happening over and over again."

Gilchrist adds that Colorado recently re-elected Lauren Boebert, a far-right politician with a history of fighting against gun control and stirring LGBTQ+ slander online.

"We live in this country where people are electing officials who peddle hate. And it feels a little helpless," Gilchrist says. "I feel a little helpless at the moment. ... We have to stop electing these people."

Though Boebert is not the only figure who spouts anti-queer rhetoric to a large audience, as Wiggins adds many accounts online have created brands around being anti-LGBTQ.

"A lot of this is festering online," he explains. "There are accounts online, like LibofTikTok or GaysAgainstGroomers, who basically exist to foment this kind of hatred, and create situations -- it's called stochastic terrorism, when you basically engage in communications that you know are going to get someone to commit an act of violence against someone else. So, it's very important for us to call this out."

Walker adds: "It's a lot more than just this young man being held responsible for this. ... When one place gets hit, we all kind of feel it."

Gilchrist believes the LGBTQ+ community cannot fight alone, and that they need allies advocating alongside them for gun control laws.

"Queer bars -- they have been our safe spaces forever. When a space like this is attacked, we feel we're not safe anywhere," Gilchrist says. "It is definitely a form of terrorism ... I don't want to live in a police state. And maybe it's naïve of me to say, I just want people to be better."

Watch The Advocate Channel's full roundtable discussion below.

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