Connect with us

World

After Club Q attack, LGBT venues grapple with safety concerns

News Agencies

Published

on

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – After the 2016 massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Florida, the owners of New York City gay bar C’mon Everybody hired more security staff, and the LGBT landmark Stonewall Inn ran active-shooter safety drills with its bartenders.

Those bars and other LGBT spaces around the country are again weighing how to keep their staff and patrons safe after a gunman killed five people and injured 17 more at an LGBT club in Colorado Springs. Many worry that physical security measures can only go so far, and that staunching a surge of inflammatory anti-LGBT rhetoric is a better tactic.

The Club Q attack, which is being investigated as a hate crime, has compounded the fear and anger of a community already confronting a wave of Republican legislation directed at transgender youth and gay Americans, and what they say is a related rise in threats and violence against its members.

“It’s really tiring for the gay community that time and time again we have to come up with the solutions for problems that other people make,” said Jonathan Hamilt, executive director of Drag Queen Story Hour, a nonprofit group that organizes drag performers reading books to children in 45 states that has been repeatedly targeted and threatened this year.

“We want to gather and dance, and people want to shoot and kill us,” Hamilt said. “Why is there so much that is being asked of us?”

Just hours before the attack at Club Q in Colorado Springs, someone threw a brick through the window of gay bar Vers in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City for the fourth time this month, according to police. Erik Bottcher, the city council member representing Hell’s Kitchen, has joined other officials over the last week to warn that one or more people are drugging and robbing gay men in the neighborhood.

In response to those attacks and the Colorado shooting, the Anti-Violence Project, a non-profit group founded in 1980 after a spate of attacks on gay men, plans to hold a safety event at a Hell’s Kitchen gay bar on Wednesday night. Volunteers will talk with staff and patrons about ways to heighten vigilance in bars, on hook-up and dating apps, and with partners at home.

The attack on the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando six years ago, during which a man shot dead 49 people, forced many bars to review their security plans.

“It was definitely an eye-opening moment,” said Eric Sosa, co-owner of C’mon Everybody and Good Judy in New York City. “We started having security onsite seven days a week.”

He recently switched to using what he described as a queer-owned security firm, which he felt was better placed to hire the sort of “firm but caring” bouncers his patrons would want to meet at the door.

But as queer venues grapple with safety, several LGBT activists and club owners said no amount of security personnel or technology would protect them from the anti-LGBT rhetoric they blame for stoking such violence.

Several Republican-controlled states have proposed or passed laws that ban teachers from discussing sexual orientation with younger students or criminalize doctors who perform certain medical interventions for transgender minors.

In Florida, supporters of the new law restricting teachers said it was designed to keep them from talking about topics young kids were not ready to process. In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has said he is trying to protect children from abuse by prohibiting many types of gender-affirming medical care for minors.

Stacy Lentz, a co-owner of Stonewall Inn, the site of the 1969 riots that catalyzed the gay liberation movement, echoed others in the industry in saying venues are reaching the limits of what physical defenses can achieve.

“You’re not going to stop a man with an AR-15 who really wants to come in. They’ll just shoot the security guard and that’s it, right?” she said. “We’ve got to work, really work to get the far right to tone down this rhetoric. Hate shouldn’t be a political strategy.”

Steven Raimo, a drag artist who has performed as Veronika Electronika in Nashville, Tennessee, for two decades, has given up organizing in-person Drag Queen Reading Hour events, saying it is too dangerous because of the threat of protesters, some armed with guns. A state senator in Tennessee has introduced a bill that would criminalize drag performances in the presence of children.

Raimo still performs for adults, including a drag bingo night he was hosting on Tuesday at a Nashville gay bar.

“The idea of a safe space really doesn’t exist,” Raimo said. “You can have as many armed security guards as you like, but it doesn’t guarantee a safe space and it doesn’t guarantee the lives of everyone in that room will continue.”

Read more:

With books and jewels, drag queens teach children tolerance

From school boards to statehouses, conservative Moms for Liberty push to grow influence

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Lisa Shumaker)

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Breaking News

Advertisement

Editor Pick’s

Latest Entertainment

Entertainment1 hour ago

Sacha Baron Cohen Revives Borat to Slam Kanye West: ‘He’s Too Antisemitic,‘ Even For Kazakhstan

Borat is back! Sacha Baron Cohen returned as his iconic character at the Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday night (via...

Entertainment2 hours ago

Dolly Parton Joins TikTok

“Better late than never,” Dolly Parton tweeted with a wink Sunday in announcing that she had joined TikTok The 11-time...

Entertainment3 hours ago

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Netflix Docuseries Release Date Revealed: ‘We Know the Full Truth’

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meet and greet the public at the Sydney Opera House...

Entertainment3 hours ago

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Netflix Docuseries Gets Release Date Ahead of Christmas, New Trailer

UPDATE: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are about to pull back the curtain on...

Entertainment15 hours ago

Amber Heard Appeals “Chilling” $10M Johnny Depp Defamation Verdict; Wants Reversal Or New Trial

Less than a month after Johnny Depp filed his formal appeal of some of the verdict in his sweeping defamation...

Entertainment16 hours ago

Bob McGrath, original ‘Sesame Street’ star, dies at 90

Sesame Street star Bob McGrath (pictured in 2013) has died at age 90. (Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images) Bob McGrath, an...

Entertainment17 hours ago

‘Breakfast Club’ stars Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy reunite for dinner nearly 38 years after film’s release

Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald (in a scene from The Breakfast Club) reunited 37 years after the 1985’s film release....

Entertainment17 hours ago

Al Strobel, Twin Peaks Actor, Dead at 83

Al Strobel, the actor who played Phillip Gerard (aka “The One-Armed Man”) on Twin Peaks, has died. He was 83....

Latest Sports

Sports47 mins ago

World Cup scores, updates: Japan vs. Croatia, Brazil vs. South Korea

Monday’s Round of 16 games at the 2022 are quite the contrast. The first game of the day looks evenly...

Sports1 hour ago

Jerry Jones reveals Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott benched for disciplinary reasons

Before Sunday, Ezekiel Elliott had started all 97 games of his career dating back to 2016. He was benched in...

Sports1 hour ago

Justin Fields explains late-game interception in loss vs. Packers

Jaire Alexander's interception of Justin FIelds with under three minutes to play ended the Bears' comeback hopes. But it wasn't...

Sports2 hours ago

Reports: Cincinnati hiring Louisville’s Scott Satterfield to replace Luke Fickell

The Bearcats are heading to the Big 12 in 2023. And play Louisville in the Fenway Bowl on Dec. 17.

Sports2 hours ago

Everything the Dallas Cowboys said after beating the Indianapolis Colts

Quotes from the postgame press conferences, locker room interviews and more

Sports3 hours ago

Alabama LG Javion Cohen set to enter NCAA transfer portal

Alabama starting offensive lineman Javion Cohen is set to enter the NCAA transfer, he announced Sunday night.

Sports3 hours ago

Brian Daboll’s questionable decision to punt in Giants’ tie with Commanders puts pressure on as postseason nears

Giants head coach Brian Daboll passed on a chance to win the game in a 20-20 tie with the Washington...

Sports4 hours ago

Bonds, Clemens left out of Hall again; McGriff elected

The committee passed over Bonds, Clemens and Curt Schilling in favor of McGriff.

Technology Hot News

Is Elon Musk Really Going to Buy Twitter? Is Elon Musk Really Going to Buy Twitter?
Technology1 month ago

Is Elon Musk Really Going to Buy Twitter?

Elon Musk, the owner of the electric car company Tesla, CEO of SpaceX, and the richest man in the world,...

WhatsApp services were affected across Pakistan, restored after 2 hours WhatsApp services were affected across Pakistan, restored after 2 hours
Technology1 month ago

WhatsApp services were affected across Pakistan, restored after 2 hours

WhatsApp services were affected in various countries of the world, including Pakistan, and India due to this users were facing...

Bitcoin vs Litecoin: A guide to understanding cryptocurrencies Bitcoin vs Litecoin: A guide to understanding cryptocurrencies
Technology2 months ago

Bitcoin vs Litecoin: A guide to understanding cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrencies currently occupy an odd place in society. They are no longer the super niche bizarre currency beloved by tech...

Personal data of people is selling on Google Play and Google Ads Personal data of people is selling on Google Play and Google Ads
Editor Picks3 months ago

Personal data of people are sold on Google Play and Google Ads

It’s been two to three years since Google has been unknowingly hosting multiple apps from malicious actors who sell personal...

Protonmail is down a second time in the past 24 hours Protonmail is down a second time in the past 24 hours
Technology5 months ago

Protonmail is down a second time in the past 24 hours

An end-to-end encrypted email service Protonmail is down a second time in the past 24 hours, netizens reported on social...

What's better for the student: a tablet or a laptop What's better for the student: a tablet or a laptop
Technology7 months ago

What’s better for the student: a tablet or a laptop

Some analysts argue that computers have outlived their usefulness. There is some truth in this: PC and laptop sales are...

Tesla founder Elon Musk holds the Twitter deal temporary Tesla founder Elon Musk holds the Twitter deal temporary
Technology7 months ago

Tesla founder Elon Musk holds the Twitter deal temporary

USA: Elon Musk, the founder of companies like Tesla and SpaceX, can actually buy anything in the world. Last month,...

How Zafar Supari is utilizing his ability on Snapchat? How Zafar Supari is utilizing his ability on Snapchat?
Technology7 months ago

How Zafar Supari is utilizing his ability on Snapchat?

Pakistan: Zafar Supari a public figure, businessman, and social media sensation has crossed one hundred thirty-three thousand 133k subscribers on...