Club Q Owner To Congress: “We’re Being Slaughtered”

Reuters reports:

Survivors of mass shootings targeting U.S. LGBT nightclubs detailed the violence they endured and criticized inflammatory political rhetoric in a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“We are being slaughtered and dehumanized across this country, in communities you took oaths to protect,” said Matthew Haynes, owner of the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where five people were killed and 22 wounded in a mass shooting last month.

“LGBTQ issues are not political issues,” Haynes added. “They are not lifestyles. They are not beliefs or choices. They are basic human rights.”

The Denver Post reports:

James Slaugh barely lifted his right arm when he swore to tell the truth Wednesday morning. He’d been shot in the Club Q attack, and his left hand helped prop up his right as he prepared to testify about the anti-LGBT rhetoric that had proliferated before the shooting.

“Club Q was a second home and safe space. Not just for me, but for all us,” Slaugh, who wore a rainbow tie and Club Q button, told a largely empty congressional committee room in Washington, D.C. “Outside of these spaces, we are continually being dehumanized, marginalized and targeted.”

He recounted how his mother had learned to accept his sexuality, how the shooting was his worst nightmare and how he believed that growing anti-LGBT rhetoric had fueled it.

Colorado Public Radio reports:

Sitting behind an imposing oak desk, facing members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, 25-year-old Michael Anderson recalled working behind the bar at Club Q when he heard the sound of gunfire.

“I can still hear the rapid firing of bullets today,” he said. “It’s a sound I may never forget. It’s a sound I hope no one here or anywhere else in this country has to hear.”

Anderson did not hold back his frustration or anger. “To the politicians and activists who accuse LGBTQ people of grooming children and being abusers, shame on you,” he said.