Queer Mourning, Queer Rage

Montreal LGBTQIA+ Community Holds Vigil for Club Q Victims

Mourners gather in parc de l’Espoir to remember the victims of the shooting. Photo Ivan de Jacquelin
One hundred people attended the vigil on Nov. 26 in Montreal. Photo Ivan de Jacquelin
Attendees gave speeches, spreading words of empowerment and love. Photo Ivan de Jacquelin

About 100 queer Montrealers and allies gathered by a park bench draped in gay and trans flags on a cold Saturday night. Atop it laid five portraits surrounded by candles.

Kelly Loving, 40; Derrick Rump, 38; Ashley Paugh, 35; Daniel Aston, 28; and Raymond Green Vance, 22, were gunned down by a mass shooter in a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Nov. 19. Twenty-five others were injured.

Mourning the tragedy, members of Montreal’s LGBTQIA+ community held a vigil for the victims at parc de l’Espoir in the Gay Village on Nov. 26. Attendees held candles and took turns speaking into a microphone.

The vigil was organized and led by Celeste Trianon, who spoke to mourners about what led to the deaths of five people. “This shooting is not only the fault of the shooter,” she said. “This is the fault of the larger system that enables transphobia.”

“What we need to do is start holding people accountable—to make sure we protect each other, to stay in solidarity, to fight the spread of right-wing violence.” — Celeste Trianon

“You know who else is at fault? Lauren Boebert, Matt Walsh, Donald Trump, Elon Musk. They are all equally responsible,” added Trianon. “What we need to do is start holding people accountable—to make sure we protect each other, to stay in solidarity, to fight the spread of right-wing violence.”

At time of writing, there have been over 611 mass shootings in the United States in 2022 alone. The last high-profile shooting of a gay nightclub was in 2016, when a man killed 49 patrons at the Pulse nightclub in Florida. Attendees noted that the Club Q shooting sparked far less outrage or public support, leading some to feel forgotten by the mainstream.

Attendees passed around a box of tissues as speakers broke into tears mid-speech. Much attention was paid to how the media has misrepresented LGBTQIA+ people in times of crisis. Trianon pointed to a recent transphobic article published in La Presse, which she deemed a clear indicator of Quebec media’s dismissal of the queer and trans community. 

Portraits of the victims were surrounded by candles and flags. Photo Ivan de Jacquelin

People of all ages took to the microphone, spreading words of affirmation, love and resilience. Multiple speakers, elders of the Montreal queer community, expressed their horror at this level of homophobic violence. “Real freedom of expression is letting people be themselves. I can’t believe this is happening in 2022,” said an older woman to the crowd.

One attendee, Max, stressed the importance of resilience and community support. “I just want to tell everyone that we are here to take up space,” he said. “I have friends who aren’t out yet; they are afraid to be trans out loud because of how scary the world is for us. But we are here.”

Next to the portraits was a QR code, which attendees could scan and use to make a donation to several LGBTQIA+ charities. Proceeds will go to Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transexuel(le)s du Québec, Lesbian Speed Dating Montreal’s mutual aid fund, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.