‘We all live in this state of fear constantly’: Central Texas LGBTQ organizations react to Colorado Springs shooting

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:43 PM CST
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COPPERAS COVE, Texas (KWTX) - The Colorado Springs shooting is leaving ripples in Central Texas after a gunman with a long rifle killed five at Club Q, a gay nightclub.

“It was kind of a shock,” Nikki Reazola said. “We sat on the phone for a few minutes just letting it sink in.”

On Sunday night Nikki and her wife Guadalupe Reazola turned their business, the Bookstore Barber Salon, into a safe space for tough discussions on LGBTQ experiences.

They hosted a candlelight vigil in partnership with the Central Texas Pride Community Center to honor the lives lost in Colorado Springs.

“We all live in this state of fear constantly,” Joy Perez, secretary of the Central Texas Pride Community Center, said. “I just want things to be better. If not for me, but for my kids and other queer kids out there.”

The tragedy is bringing to light another conversation. Members of Gamma Alpha Upsilon, a LGBTQ student organization at Baylor, are asking for more kindness in Waco.

“I think we’re largely asking for people to be more cognizant about anti-LGBT hate around them,” Malaïka John, external chair for Gamma Alpha Upsilon, said. “Even in Waco we’ve seen a lot of people spreading misinformation about the LGBT community.”

Back in April the Waco Pride Network asked the Waco City Council for recognition of June as Pride Month, an inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance and more LGBTQ voices involved in citywide decisions. No action was taken.

“People may wonder, what does designating a month do?” Jeffrey Vitarius, communications chair for Waco Pride Network, said. “Although it can’t necessarily prevent violence like this, it does signal to those that don’t want this community to be present that we’re not going away.”

While a tragedy like the Colorado Springs shooting could happen anywhere, the flame of this community won’t burn out.

“I always worry about our community, even when we decided to put this on tonight,” Stephanie Perdue, board member for the Central Texas Pride Community Center, said. “I also refuse to live in fear.”