Colorado Springs looks back on past gay club shootings

When officials unfurled a 25-foot rainbow flag in front of the airport, colorado springs As people gathered at City Hall this week to pay tribute to the victims of the shooting at a popular gay club, it’s hard not to think about how such an outpouring of support seemed unthinkable a few days ago. did not.

With the growth and diversification of the population, the city was located at its foot. rocky mountains It’s a patchwork of different social and cultural fabrics. It’s a place full of art shops and breweries. megachurches and military bases; liberal arts colleges and the Air Force Academy;For years it has been marketed as an outdoor boomtown with a population set at the top DenverBy 2050.

But last weekend’s shootings have raised disturbing questions about the enduring legacy of the cultural conflict that ignited decades ago, making Colorado Springs a reputation as a cauldron of conservatism steeped in religion. did. family values.

For some, just seeing police discreetly refer to victims using the correct pronouns this week marked a change in the earthquake. A shocking act of violence in an empty space shattered the sense of optimism that permeated everywhere, from the city’s revitalized downtown to its sprawling suburbs.

“This city feels like it’s at an inflection point,” said Candace Woods, a queer pastor and pastor who has called Colorado Springs home for 18 years. “It feels funny and weird, like there’s this tension. How do we decide how we want to move forward as a community?”

In recent decades, the population has nearly doubled to 480,000. More than a third of his residents are non-white, twice as many as he was in 1980. Median age he is 35 years old. Politics here are more conservative than in cities of comparable size. City council debates revolve around well-known issues across Mountain West, such as water, housing, and the threat of wildfires.

Residents are proud to describe Colorado Springs as a place defined by reinvention. In the early 20th century, newcomers emerged to build resort towns in the shadow of Pikes Peak. In the 1940s, military bases arrived. In the 1990s, it became known as the home of an evangelical non-profit organization. Christian Ministries, including the Department of Broadcasting, focus on the fellowship of families and Christian cowboys.

Historian Matt Mayberry, director of the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum, said:

Club Q bartender Michael Anderson, who survived last weekend’s mass shooting, decided to step into a city with a bright future.

Two friends, Derrick Lamp and Daniel Aston, helped him get a job at Club Q and find a “queer family” in his new hometown. It was more welcoming than the rural Florida he grew up in.

Still, he noted signs that the city was more culturally conservative than other cities of similar size and much of Colorado, saying, “Colorado Springs is kind of an outlier.”

Now he mourns the loss of his lamp and his Aston. Both were killed by club shooting.

Leslie Herod followed the opposite trajectory. Colorado After growing up in a military family in Springs, he left the University of Colorado to study at the University of Colorado in the liberal city of Boulder. In 2016, she was elected to the Colorado State Legislature openly as her LGBTQ and Black, representing her Denver part. She is currently running for mayor of Denver.

“Colorado Springs is a loving community. But I also acknowledge that I chose to leave Springs… the elected leadership, the vocal leadership of this community, that does not support all people.” It didn’t support black people, it didn’t support immigrants or LGBTQ people,” Herod said at a memorial event downtown.

She said she found community at Club Q when she returned from college, but that sense of belonging meant that people and groups with a history of anti-LGBTQ stances and rhetoric remained influential in the city’s politics. I couldn’t forget that I was there.

“This community is as complex as any community in the country,” she said.

Herod and others who have been around long enough said this week that when the impact of religious rights was at its height in the 1990s, Colorado Springs-based Colorado for Family Values ​​Group announced a statewide Amendment 2 I remember passing the article and leading the movement to outlaw it. A community that passes ordinances to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination.

Colorado Springs voted 3-1 in favor of the Second Amendment, enabling a narrow statewide victory. Although later ruled unconstitutional, the campaign cemented the city’s reputation, attracted more like-minded groups, and inspired progressive activists accordingly.

The influx of evangelical groups decades ago was spurred, at least in part, by the city’s economic development department’s efforts to provide financial incentives to lure nonprofits. Newcomers began lobbying for policies such as removing Halloween celebrations in schools due to suspicions about the holiday’s pagan origins.

Yemi Mobolade, an independent and entrepreneur running for mayor, didn’t understand Colorado Springs’ stigma as a “hate city” until she moved there 12 years ago . But since he’s been here, he said, it’s emerged from the struggles of the recession and has become culturally and economically vibrant for all kinds of people.

There was a concerted effort to strip and recreate the city’s reputation as ‘Jesus Springs’, highlighting its elite Olympic Training Center and branding it as Olympic City USA.

As in the 1990s, the Focus on the Family and New Life Church are still prominent in town. After the shooting, Focus on the Family president Jim Daly said he was mourning the tragedy like the rest of the community. He said he wanted to make it clear that he was opposed to

Daly noted a generational shift taking place among Christian leaders away from the rhetorical style of his predecessor, Dr. James Dobson. Focus on the Family has published literature attacking what it called the “homosexual agenda” for decades, but its message now emphasizes tolerance, and that marriage is a one-man marriage. It ensures that those who believe it should be between a man and a woman have the right to act accordingly.

“In today’s pluralistic culture, the question is how can we live without trampling on each other,” Daly said.

This week’s memorial service was attended by a large number of visitors. Crowds of mourners with flowers, crowds of TV crews, and church groups where volunteers pitched tents and distributed cookies, coffee and water. For some in the LGBTQ community, the scene was a cause for consternation rather than solidarity.

Colorado Springs native Ashlynn Mae grew up in a Christian church but left because her queer identity wasn’t accepted. I asked him if he could pray for me.

she said yes. It reminded Mei of her beloved great-grandparents who were pious. It unearthed memories of hearing about LGBTQ people she found repulsive and inspiring.

“It felt very contradictory,” May said.


The Mets reported from Salt Lake City. APs Contributed by Colorado Springs writers Brittany Peterson and Jesse Bedane.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/colorado-springs-ap-rockies-denver-christian-b2233031.html Colorado Springs looks back on past gay club shootings

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