(COLORADO SPRINGS) — In the wake of the devastating shooting at Club Q, many are sharing their memories of the nightclub, and what the space meant to so many in the LGBTQ+ community.
Michael Robert Travis, a police chaplain, ventured to the scene of a growing memorial outside the nightclub on Sunday morning, in support and solidarity with those who are grieving. Travis, a former police officer in Texas, said he was one of the first openly gay Police Captains and Police Chiefs in Austin, Texas, and now lives in Colorado Springs with his husband.
“We had talked back and forth, about possibly coming out (to Club Q), whether it be last night, or whenever,” Travis said. “And we just decided we were too tired, or we would be in this situation.”
Travis said when he learned of the shooting, he knew he had to be there, to show his support for the victims, their loved ones, and the grieving Colorado Springs community.
“It just seemed like, when dealing with shock and grief, one of the best things to do is just to come out and pay tribute with everybody else, and comfort everybody else, and see everybody else.”
Travis also spoke about what Club Q meant to the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs, and how devastating it is to feel unsafe in a place that previously had been a refuge.
“Club Q makes it a safe place for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, LGBTQIA+ community… we could go in and forget about work and everything else and feel like it was a home,” Travis said. “Everybody knew each other, and if they didn’t they would introduce.”
To threaten that safety and comfort is the cruelest part of this, Travis said. “You’re not even safe in your own home.”
However, Travis said the community support – the flowers and candles and notes of love left at the memorial – give him hope.
“That’s kind of a part of the way that everybody is in Colorado Springs anyway,” he said. “If we had been at any other location, it would be the exact same way. Accepting, loving, and caring.”