ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The killing of five people in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ-friendly Night Club, while at least 25 others were injured has rocked the nation, including the LGBTQ community in Rochester.
This tragedy came on the last day of Transgender Awareness Week. Although authorities have not released a motive for this shooting, it has those in Rochester who are part of or allies to the LGBTQ community heartbroken — but determined to not let fear and hatred take over their lives.
The mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs may be over 1600 miles away from Rochester, but for members of the LGBTQ community, the violence still hits close to home.
“Just through Equal Cafe I’ve known about a group of 37 people on a server, and we constantly talk about the threats that we feel to our community,” Seven Hassall, a transgender woman in Rochester said. “It’s not something you wake up and forget about. We walk around with eyes on the back of our heads.”
Peter Mohr owns the Bachelor Forum Bar in Rochester. He said that over the years, more attacks like these on the LGBTQ community have kept him and his staff on guard.
“Horrible that somebody has that much hate that goes into a community and shoots away,” Mohr added. “You know the toll count is getting higher and higher. It’s sad, we’re really concern.”
“I’ve been reaching out to [the Rochester Police Department] saying what we’ll do for coverage and stuff like that,” Mohr continued. “We do have security; I don’t have armed security, but we do have security here Thursday through Sunday.”
The Club Q shooting fell on Trans Day of Remembrance. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 32 transgender people have been killed in the U.S. so far in 2022. Those who are allies of the LGBTQ community feel it takes everyone to do their part to stop hate crimes like these.
“Understanding the diversity is not an exception to the rule, it is the rule,” Rochester resident David Yockel said. “We are human beings; we are different, and that is beautiful. If we don’t start leaning into that we’re not going to be around that much longer.”
Later in the day, Governor Kathy Hochul announced she will be directing more State Police to have a presence at Jewish and LGBTQ events to deter any future attacks.
In the coming days, owners of the Bachelor Forum Bar and others active in Rochester’s LGBTQ community have expressed an interet in holding a vigil to honor those who lost their lives.
Check back with News 8 WROC for any announcements regarding these events.