The Nov. 19 mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs has left the LGBTQ nightspot without two of its most welcoming faces.
“They were always so welcoming and always so friendly,” Kelley recalls. “They were the bartenders that you walk in the bar, and they know everybody’s drinks when you walk in. They know what you’re drinking, they know what you’re going to have and they’re already pouring it for you. That was just their spirit.”
Kelley remembers Aston as a “very proud trans man” who “spoke up for trans rights” and as someone who had the “most infectious smile,” adding: “I see it constantly in my head. His smile was just amazing.”
“He was always about fairness and equality, and so was Derrick,” Kelley says, noting that Rump was “a very catty guy in just the very best way possible” as well as a “fabulous drag queen.”
“I would say that they both were so opposite, but they worked so well together. It was like they were a perfect team,” Kelley says.
Kelley first met the pair when she began performing at Club Q around six months ago.
“That night I came, I fell in love with it. Everybody was so amazing. … Everyone was just incredible, so I just started going back more regularly,” she says.
The shooting killed 5 people and injured 18 others. Also killed in the shooting were Kelly Loving, Ashley Paugh and Raymond Green.
Kelley considers the clientele at Club Q a “very tight-knit family.” It’s location in Colorado Springs, Colo., less than two miles from the headquarters of Focus on the Family, makes it an oasis in what Kelley describes as “one of the least LGBTQ-friendly places” in Colorado.
“As far as the LGBTQ nightlife, the places that we had were the places that we had, and those were our safe spaces,” she says. “Places to escape to, places to be able to go and be ourselves openly and be loved and accepted and not just tolerated. But they’re far and few in between,” she says.
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“Club Q was probably the most safe haven for most people. I’ve heard so many amazing stories over the last week or so of people who just have some beautiful experiences with Club Q and how it’s saved their lives. Having that space has been such a beautiful place for them, and that breaks my heart more than anything, to know that’s been taken away from so many people,” Kelley adds.
The alleged shooter — identified as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich — is facing five preliminary charges each of murder and bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury. The suspect is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 6.
To help those impacted by the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs, donate to the Colorado Healing Fund.