Portland LGBTQ+ community reacts after deadly Colorado Springs mass shooting

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 4:38 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV)- A man faces murder and hate crime charges in a deadly shooting that killed five people and injured 17 at Club Q , an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs that killed 5 and injured 17.

The tragedy is sending a shockwave through the LGBTQ+ communities across the country. Drew Picard is the bar lead at Scandals in Downtown Portland. He says occasionally, Scandals deals with intolerant people. But after the tragedy in Colorado Springs, it hits very close to home.

“We get random phone calls every once in a while and people off the street want to yell weird things, that kind of a thing,” said Picard. “So when it’s something that violent it really hits us hard.”

Debra Porta, the director of Pride Northwest, the organization that holds Portland’s annual pride parade and festival, says the shooting at Club Q is a grim reminder of the deadly mass shooting in 2016 at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, where a gunman killed 49 people and injured dozens of others. She says Pride Northwest is devastated to see yet another violent attack on the LGBTQ+ community.

“Really, we’ve been taken right back to Pulse at this point,” said Porta. “And so we’re talking to each other about what we need as a community. And does that mean coming together to be in a space together? An opportunity to speak out? How do we support each other?”

At Scandals, Drew Picard says despite acts of violence fueled by LGBTQ hate, it is crucial to find strength in numbers and support one another in the community.

“That’s what they want is for us to go silent. But what they don’t realize is that these actions bring us all back to together and make us stronger and activates what makes the queer community special: is that we’re loud.”