COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Josh Tutt, president of the Brazos Valley's Pride Community Center, says homophobic violence in Aggieland isn’t a common thing he’s experienced or been aware of.
But it’s that fear and threat of violence which had previously kept the Pride Community Center a bit less active for several years.
"Back in, I think it was 2016, there had been a bomb threat at one of our organization’s community barbecues that, at least to my understanding, lead to us losing some momentum," Tutt told KRHD.
The recent killing of five people and injuring of many more at a the Club Q gay bar in Colorado Springs, not only saddens Tutt, but it reminds him of why gay bars have historically been invaluable places for LGBTQ people.
“I can’t understate the historical and cultural importance of the gay bar in the LGBTQ community as a space where we’re allowed to exist," Tutt said. "And for that to be violated so violently is a much deeper dagger than I think some might realize.”
Colorado Springs alleged shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich has identified as non-binary, according to their defense team. Though non-binary is considered part of the LGBTQ classification, this designation, to Tutt, does not eliminate the hate crime nature of this mass shooting.
“The same struggles that can leave someone to be kind and empathic, and strive to make the world a better place, can also lead someone to be bitter and resentful of the way people have treated them," Tutt said.
While many want to offer support to the queer community surrounding events like this, the nature amongst some groups to remain passive with phrases like "love the sinner and hate the sin" can actually enable hateful acts, Tutt believes.
“That disapproval, that especially when you speak it into being – that othering of our community, that’s the crack in the pavement where those weeds grow," Tutt said.