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LGBTQ community shows support for Colorado shooting victims at SF Queer Bowling Night

Bay Area LGBTQ community shows support for victims of Colorado shooting rampage
Bay Area LGBTQ community shows support for victims of Colorado shooting rampage 05:15

SAN FRANCISCO -- Queer Bowling Night in San Francisco was a light-hearted and family-friendly event, but many had their minds on the tragedy over the weekend.

Longtime San Francisco resident Maya Gonzalez said she was feeling emotional Monday night. She brought her partner and 9-year-old child to Mission Bowling Club, a place she considers a safe space.

"It's why I think we're out tonight, is to continue to reclaim and to show our child too that queer, trans people get to be out in the world and claim our space, and take the risk, and that's what we've always done, and I'm going to try not to cry right now," said Gonzalez.

The monthly bowling fundraiser followed the tragic weekend in Colorado springs and Transgender Day of Remembrance.

"It's so sad, I think the first thing that went through my mind was Orlando and just this flashback to what's been happening, and we work within the LGBTQ industry basically, we make children's books, so the hate that's been rolling around we've experienced it ourselves," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez and her partner run Reflection Press, which publishes gender-inclusive children's books.

"Having lived in the Castro for 28 years, you're bound to have some sort of experience right, but this year has actually been the worst, we've gotten more online harassment than we've ever received," said Gonzalez.
"When we see this sort of thing happen in the clubs again, in a way it makes me want to buckle down and be like we need to really teach our kids, and this is our home and we can feel safe here."

Donations from Monday's free event will benefit the non-profit Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits.

The safety that the San Francisco queer community offers is not lost on Keith Pence, whose family members spent time in Colorado Springs.

"For me I visited Colorado Springs once before and I felt a little uneasy, it's certainly more a conservative place," said Pence. "I came out when I was 18, very lucky I grew up here, and it was always very accepting, and I know that's not always everyone's experience."

Gonzalez said there's a lot to grieve in this moment, but she knows the tragedy won't take down her community.

"You know there's that heartbreak inside, but there's also that courage that keeps us going and I think that's what the queer community is about," she added.    

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