In the wake of the horrific shooting at ClubQ, an LGBTQIA+ bar in Colorado Springs this past weekend, the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) reiterates its commitment to and stands in solidarity with members of the LGBTQIA+ community. We mourn the lives of the five persons who were killed, and our thoughts are with the 25 people who were injured. The LGBTQIA+ community is hurting, and similar to the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, the pain is exacerbated by national rhetoric that centers itself on hate for transgender and gay people. As this rhetoric has advanced, we have seen numerous attacks and acts of violence on LGBTQIA+ establishments and people. In the last month, we have had too many: the ClubQ Shooting (Nov 19), a Brick thrown at an NYC Gay bar (Nov 21), an Oklahoma donut shop was firebombed after hosting a drag show (Nov 2), and a Connecticut couple was beaten outside gay bar (Oct 12), to name a few.
LGBTQIA+ people deserve safety and joy; everyone deserves a life without fear or threats of violence due to their identities. Prior to last weekend, ClubQ served as a safe haven for the LGBTQIA+ community and allies. It is difficult to overstate the importance of the gay bar within the LGBTQIA+ rights movement over the past couple hundred years. Throughout history, gay bars have been flash points for huge moments in the process of the LGBTQIA+ liberation movement. They have served not just as a “safe” meeting place for LGBTQIA+ folks, but as a jumping off place for huge leaps forward for social change.
Dehumanizing and vilifying a person or group of people can provoke what scholars and law enforcement officials call “stochastic terrorism,” in which ideologically driven hate speech increases the likelihood that people will violently and unpredictably attack the targets of vicious claims. We have seen a rise in incidents of violence against marginalized communities in recent years tied to stochastic terrorism, these acts of terror have been most prominently targeted at the Black community, Asian and Asian-American communities, the Jewish community and the LGBTQIA+ community. We must fight these damaging and radicalizing narratives by educating ourselves and facingour internal fear of others.
In ODEI’s ongoing commitment to creating an inclusive and equitable environment for all, we will:
- Continue offering educational opportunities around LGBTQIA+ identities and issues by creating an LGBTQIA+ 101 primer and specialized offerings to better support inclusion for our trainees, staff, and faculty; and
- Host Perspectives Sessions on Anti-LGBTQIA+ Legislation, Rhetoric, and Violence
- On Monday, 12/5: 11:00am –12pm
- Wednesday, 12/7: 12:00pm –1pm
- Specific details and an RSVP link will be added to our website in the coming days, please review our Event calendar for updates.
We must continue to support each other, fight against homophobia and transphobia, and amplify resources in our communities. We encourage you to be on the lookout for our upcoming programing and professional development opportunities as we continue to expand our offerings around LGBTQIA+ education. Should you want to educate yourself further on this issue, you might consider engaging with the following resources:
- PFLAG’s “Something to Talk About Live” Episode on “Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation, Rhetoric, and Violence: Beyond ‘Thoughts and Prayers’”: https://youtu.be/xt0W9LW3m7k
- The Amber Ruffin Show on “Homophobia is not a problem of the past”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNz1ZUUWjDY
- The Fenway Institute’s National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center – Learning Opportunities: https://www.lgbtqiahealtheducation.org/resources/type/learning-module/
On the medical campus, in addition to ODEI, the following resources may be useful:
- OUTMed (https://diversity.wustl.edu/groups/outmed/)
- LGBTQmed (https://lgbtqmed.med.wustl.edu/)
- OUTList (https://lgbtqmed.med.wustl.edu/lgbtq-at-washu/outlist/)
- WashU Transgender Care Center
The following resources can be found on The St. Louis LGBTQIA+ Support Helpline, or SQSH, a resource database, and helpful tool for people in the LGBTQIA+ community. SQSH offers an “empathetic, non-judgmental listening ear” and an LGBTQIA+ resource list. We are amplifying some LGBTQIA+ resources in the St. Louis area (from KSDK):