On Nov. 19, a shooter fired repeatedly into a Colorado Springs nightclub called Club Q, which caters to the LGBTQ community. Five people died, and more than 25 others were wounded in the tragic mass shooting.
At Wake County, we condemn the actions of this gunman who intentionally targeted an LGBTQ community space and the LGBTQ people and their allies inside it. This act was rooted in homophobia and transphobia and did not occur in isolation. It’s merely the latest example in a long history of violence against queer and trans folx.
Wake County stands in solidarity with our LGBTQ employees and residents, so they will know they are valued, supported and loved. They deserve to live authentically without fear of violence, which is challenging in the aftermath of events like the Club Q tragedy and the Pulse Massacre.
Our Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion works to build policies, practices, programs and resources that uplift underrepresented and historically marginalized communities. It’s critical to us that the voices and experiences of all employees and residents inform the direction of our work.
Our DEI office recently expanded to a three-person, full-time team. With greater resources now available, we have the opportunity and responsibility to take action to meaningfully support LGBTQ employees and residents. Here are some steps we’ll take over the coming months to support the LGBTQ community:
- Continue to collaborate with county efforts to address discrimination, which includes initiatives that bolster protections for the LGBTQ community, such as the Wake County’s Non-Discrimination Ordinance;
- Include LGBTQ inclusion educational resources on the forthcoming Office of DEI webpage; and
- Work with seven county departments in our first year to design DEI plans, which will include supporting LGBTQ workplace inclusion.
Resources for Wake County Residents
All resources listed below include a hyperlink to additional information.
- LGBT Center of Raleigh
- GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)
- Trevor Project
- NC Mental Health Hotlines
While we want to ensure action from our office to move forward, it is equally critical to uplift the lives that were stolen in this tragedy. Here are their stories.
40-year-old Kelly Loving (she/her) was visiting the club on a weekend trip from her home in Denver. Minutes after Kelly got off the phone with her longtime friend, Natalee Skye Bingham, she was shot and killed. Kelly was supposed to attend Thanksgiving dinner at Natalee’s house. Natalee refers to Kelly as her trans mother and says Kelly taught her how to ease into her transition.
28-year-old Daniel Davis Aston (he/him) was a beloved bartender and trans man who advocated strongly for the Black trans community. He was also a performer at Club Q, always engaging the audience. Daniel also leaves behind Xander Fuchs (he/him), his self-proclaimed surgery buddy. The two friends had gender-affirming top surgery on the same day.
35-year-old Derrick Rump (he/him) was a bartender and part owner of Club Q. His mother describes him as having a heart of gold, with a broad network of chosen and born family. Derrick was supportive of all his coworkers and weathered the evolution of the Club Q business during the pandemic.
22-year-old Raymond Green Vance (he/him) graduated from high school in 2018 and had just gotten a job at a FedEx distribution center in Colorado Springs. He was excited to save enough money for his own apartment. Raymond, his girlfriend, and their family and friends were out that night to celebrate a birthday and see a friend perform in the drag show.
35-year-old Ashley Paugh (she/her) was the mother of an 11-year-old daughter and a wife to her high school sweetheart. She was also a dedicated foster care worker in Colorado Springs, striving to find loving homes for foster children, including within the LGBTQ community. During the holidays, she organized giving trees and delivered them to businesses, so foster kids could have brighter holidays.
Wake County is here to support you, and we will stand strong together in unity with our LGBTQ community.