Club Q victims honoured on one year anniversary and Transgender Day of Remembrance: ‘Give us our flowers while we are still here’
Club Q survivors gathered together this week to mark the one-year anniversary of the devastating 2022 shooting and, rather poignantly, National Transgender Day of Remembrance.
A special event was held on Monday (20 November) in Acacia Park, Colorado Springs for victims, survivors, their loved ones, and other members of the community for whom the Club Q attack is still all too fresh.
The horrific shooting, which left five dead and dozens more injured, occurred on the night of 19 November 2022 and carried into the early hours of National Transgender Day of Remembrance – a day that honours the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of violence.
The five victims of the mass shooting, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump, Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh, and Raymond Green Vance, were honoured by attendees, with speakers taking turns to remember each one of the rich, full lives they had led before the fatal attack took place.
Organisers of the event gave special mentions to two of the five Club Q victims, Daniel Aston and Kelly Loving, who had been transgender.
Among the speakers on Monday was Wyatt Kent, who was a drag performer at Club Q and as well as Daniel Aston’s partner.
Remembering his late love Kent told mourners, per local news station KKTV, “Daniel was a very, very proud trans man. But his most important mission was uplifting and supporting trans women of color, who are a community that’s constantly being attacked, especially in our country.”
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He added of Aston, who had worked as a bartender at Club Q and is remembered as a moving writer and poet: “He just had these ways of creeping under your skin and making you feel safe and at home.”
Although Kent didn’t know Kelly Loving as well, having only met her on the night of the attack, he told the crowd that he had gotten to know her through her family members.
“Kelly was the trans mother to many. She was the caretaker to the butterflies,” he said.
Kelly, who had just celebrated her 40th birthday before the mass shooting, was described by her sister Tiffany Loving in a victim impact statement as “my compass, my best friend, my sister.”
Tiffany described Kelly as someone who “loved herself and wanted others to unapologetically be themselves.”
Paying special tribute to the two trans victims, an organiser of Monday’s event called out, per 9News: “Can we all say ‘Kelly Loving’? Kelly Loving! The other is Daniel Davis Aston. Those two lives were stolen from us one year today.”
Kent noted that, while this week’s anniversary was a day of mourning for the tragedy that befell the local LGBTQ+ community, the coinciding Transgender Day of Remembrance was a reminder to celebrate transgender people while they’re alive.
“It’s always better to celebrate in remembrance rather than have a somber party,” he said.
“Give us our flowers while we are still here, we deserve it.”
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