USAWorld News

Police identify Colorado shooting victims using appropriate pronouns and surnames


When the names of those shot dead in a Colorado Springs LGBTQ bar were read out at a police press conference on Monday, one thing stood out about the procedure that has become routine in a country plagued by mass shootings: the chief of police declared the pronouns of the deceased.

“Kelly Aimer. Kelly’s pronouns are she/her. Daniel Aston. Daniel’s pronouns are he/him. Derrick Rump. Derrick’s pronouns are he/him,” and so on, chef Adrian Vasquez continued.

It was a small but important gesture, LGBTQ advocates said. Than a police department in a conservative part of Colorado known for being home to the Air Force Academy would take such care with an often politically controversial detail that surprised some.

But there was no doubt about it within the police, said Pamela Castro, the department’s spokeswoman.

“For us, there wasn’t a lot of discussion about how we were going to identify the victims, because we all agreed from the start that we would use their names and pronouns,” she told the Washington Post. in an email. “For us, it was just about showing them the respect they deserve by identifying them with the names they and their loved ones used.”

Two of those killed in the shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQ nightlife staple in Colorado Springs, about an hour’s drive south of Denver, were transgender. Transgender people often take names that may better reflect their gender, but may not match the official name and gender records assigned to them at birth.

Remembering the Victims of the Colorado Springs Shooting

“We respect all members of our community, including our LGBTQ community. Therefore, we will identify the victims based on how they identified themselves and how their families loved and identified them,” Vasquez said before reading the names of the victims.

“We are a victim-focused police service and try to represent victims with compassion and dignity,” Castro said. “We think that’s their due, to them and their families, and we think that’s what we’re doing here.”

Transgender people are often misinterpreted by police, said Rich Ferraro, spokesperson for GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). The organization therefore contacted the Colorado Springs Police Department before its press conference. “They assured us that respectful language would be used,” he said.

“It requires so little, yet it means so much,” GLAAD said in a statement to the Post.

How the Colorado Mass Shooting Unfolded – and Ended – Inside Club Q

“Chief Vasquez’s name and pronoun recognition was inclusive, accurate and compassionate,” GLAAD said. “I hope it was also a measure of comfort for grieving families and for a community in shock. LGBTQ people are not always called by the right name, or they are mistreated, often including by the police, and it can hurt.

Transgender and non-binary youth whose pronouns are used by all or most people in their lives are significantly less likely to attempt suicide, according to the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth. The Trevor Project found in a 2020 survey that of young people who have attempted suicide, 28% said none of the people in their lives respected their pronouns, while 12% said all or most were doing.

“Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect, especially in our most vulnerable and human moments. We can better honor the legacy of those we have lost by accurately representing who they were in life and fostering a better understanding of our LGBTQ community,” said Kasey Suffredini, vice president of advocacy and government affairs at Trevor project. The post office.

The shooting, which left at least 18 people injured, “has all the trappings of a hate crime,” Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers (R) said, warning the investigation was just beginning. A city spokesperson said the alleged shooter faces five charges of murder and five charges of committing a bias-motivated crime.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button