'We are being slaughtered and dehumanized': Club Q owner shames anti-LGBTQ+ House Republicans

'We are being slaughtered and dehumanized': Club Q owner shames anti-LGBTQ+ House Republicans
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The hate crime mass shooting during a drag show at Club Q, a Colorado Springs nightclub that catered to LGBTQ people and their friends and families, left five people dead, 25 people injured, and a suspect with 305 criminal charges. Club Q co-owner Matthew Haynes testified before Congress Wednesday, telling lawmakers that LGBTQ people are being “slaughtered and dehumanized,” as he read a few excerpts from what he says are the “hundreds” of messages of hate he received in the wake of the attack.

On December 1, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security published its latest terrorism threat report, and for the first time LGBTQI+ people were listed as “targets of potential violence,” which DHS warned could be “lethal.”

Haynes warned the House Oversight Committee during its hearing on “The Rise of Anti-LGBTQI+ Extremism and Violence in the United States,” that “thoughts and prayers alone are not saving lives. They are not changing the rhetoric of hate. None of us ever imagined that our little bar in Colorado Springs would be the target of the next hate crime. And again, repeat, we were targeted for the next hate crime.”

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“We need safe places like Club Q now more than ever, and we need you, our leaders, to support and protect us,” he said, and went on to read from some of the messages he received.

(Warning: graphic and triggering language below and in the videos.)

Reading from one message, Haynes said: “I woke up to the wonderful news that five mentally unstable f*****s and lesbians and 18 injured.”

“The only thing I’m mad about is that the f*****s had courage to subdue the wonderful killer. I hope more shootings happen. Have a blessed day,” he continued, from the same message.

“The shooter was doing God’s work. Five less f*****s. Not enough. Those that stopped him are the devil,” Haynes said, reading from another message.

“All gays should die,” said another message.

“This is hate,” Haynes told Congress.

“It is not just us that is experiencing this. Our hero, Army Veteran Rich Fierro,” one of the people credited with taking down the shooter, “and his wife Jessica told me that they and their daughter have also been receiving similar hate messages.”

Haynes also took the opportunity to blast the 169 House Republicans who voted against the Respect for Marriage Act.

“Finally,” he told the Committee, “my husband and I had the honor to attend the White House ceremony for the signing of the Respect for Marriage Act yesterday. It was honestly the first joy and pride I have felt since these horrific events at Club Q, and while the protections for marriage, like my own, were signed into federal law, I could not help but reflect that 169 Members of Congress voted against that bill.”

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“169 of your colleagues hiding behind excuses and schematics and other reasons sent a message to me and it was a clear message that the entire community – I’m sorry, to me and the entire community – that you do not respect my marriage. And through your inaction and your vote you as a leader send a clear message it is okay not to respect the basic human rights of loving who you love. And it is okay to disrespect and not support our marriages.”

“We are being slaughtered and dehumanized across this country in communities you took oaths to protect. LGBTQ issues are not political issues. They are not ‘lifestyles,’ they are not beliefs. They are not choices. They are basic human rights. And so I ask you today, not simply, what are you doing to safeguard LGBTQ Americans but rather, what are you or other leaders doing to make America unsafe for LGBTQ people?”

“Club Q is grieving. We are rebuilding we are fighting. Let’s stop this from happening again. Thank you.”

Watch Haynes’ full opening statement below, his reading from hate messages above, or both at this link.

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