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Colorado Springs Honors Trans Victims of Club Q Shooting on Transgender Day of Remembrance

Posters of Daniel Aston and Kelly Loving
Image by Alex Cooper/The Advocate

In a city park, friends and loved ones gathered to remember Daniel Aston and Kelly Loving, who were both gunned down at the Colorado Springs queer bar Club Q.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The day after the one-year anniversary of the Club Q shooting, community members in Colorado Springs gathered in the cold at Acacia Park in the middle of downtown to honor Transgender Day of Remembrance and two of the five victims of the shooting.

Daniel Aston and Kelly Loving were both transgender. On Monday, their families and friends took to the stage in the park to remember them and share with those who came out a little bit about who they were.

Aston, who was 28, worked at Club Q. A blue-eyed bartender who loved Fireball and hailed from Oklahoma, he had found a home in Colorado Springs. Aston’s family remembered him as always looking out for the marginalized.

“I want him to be remembered for being an advocate for trans people,” Aston’s mother, Sabrina Aston, told The Advocate. “Even when we lived in Oklahoma he would help anybody, especially people who were in the middle of transitioning.”

She said she recently got a letter from a trans man who thanked her for having him over for Christmas.

“That was Daniel,” Sabrina Aston said, “always going with the underdogs.”

Aston’s kindness was also noted by his father in a speech Jeff Aston gave to the crowd.

“We thought we had a girl, but we were wrong. We had a trans boy,” Jeff Aston said. “But when he was young, he was always a champion for the underdog and always looked out for everybody. He was just a wonderful, kind, good-hearted person who loved everyone.”

Related: In Search of a Safe Space, Club Q Shooting Survivors Look for Ways to Push Forward Without Fear

Loving, 44, always looked after her fellow trans women. She was visiting Colorado Springs from Denver when she was killed. Loving's sister Tiffany took to the stage to honor her, telling the crowd, “[Kelly] wanted people to accept her. She was very loving and always wanted everyone to feel beautiful.”

People came to honor victims of Club Q shooting

Image by Alex Cooper/The Advocate

Z Williams, one of the leaders of Bread and Roses, an organization that has been helping Club Q survivors, said, “Kelly is someone who worked overtime, worked tirelessly to make sure that she could always help out other folks. She was always looking to make sure that when there was a newly out trans woman that she knew how to do her makeup, that she had the good-smelling body spray, that she had all the washing powder she wanted, because Kelly loved her washing powder.”

Williams added, “If she had $5 in her pocket, she would give every single one of those dollars away no matter what.”

Loving would even tip her Uber drivers extra.

“Yes, she tipped Ashton when she walked in, walked in the door of Club Q that night,” Williams said. “She paid Ashtin [Gamblin, who worked at the bar] the door fee and said ‘Keep the change, honey.’”

Wyatt Kent, also known by their drag name Potted Plant, took the stage to discuss the two and served as the emcee for the event. Kent was in line at the bar with Loving and another patron when the shots began. It was their birthday and they had performed their drag number that night.

“Daniel and I were very, very close,” Kent said. “We were hoping to get married this year. And Kelly is an angel who saved my life. And for that I am incredibly grateful every single day. But I'm also very thankful to the trans community, the nonbinary community, the gender-queer community, every spectrum out there, because every single day in this country, we are under attack, every single day we are under threat. And those two beautiful souls who I'm seeing in this audience reflected in your faces and reflected in those posters give us hope. Give us strength, show us resiliency.”

Related: Trans People Continue to Be Murdered at Extreme Rates as Republicans Push Transphobic Laws

At the end of their speech, Kent led a chant that's become a rallying cry for the community and that's been heard at memorial throughout the weekend commemorating the one-year anniversary of the shooting: “When trans rights are under attack? What do we do?

“Stand up, fight back!

“When trans kids are under attack? What do we do?

“Stand up, fight back!

“When queer youth are under attack? What do we do?

“Stand up, fight back!

“When trans men are under attack? What do we do?

“Stand up, fight back!

“When trans women are under attack? What do we do?

“Stand up, fight back!

“When nonbinary friends and family members are under attack? What do we do?

“Stand up, fight back!

“For anyone who's lost their voice in this community, what we can always do is…

“Stand up, fight back!”

“For trans lives,” Kent finished. “Especially now.”

TDoR memorial for Club Q victims

Image by Alex Cooper/The Advocate

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