I don't have much to do with the LGBTQ+ world. I'm retired, and since I'm no longer in the workforce, my interactions with people occur only on a casual basis. Not only that, but I've simply checked the "M" box all my life—it's all been very simple.
The LGBTQ+ community would cherish that sort of simplicity; instead, their lives are alternately exalted and decimated, often within the same news cycle. This past weekend's shooting in Colorado Springs and Monday night's Jeopardy championship won by a trans woman reveal that ongoing contradictory dichotomy.
There's very little that I can add to the story of the shooting except to say that the hero of the tragedy was a straight Army veteran, Richard Fierro, enjoying a drag show with his wife, daughter, and the daughter's boyfriend, all come to see one of her old school friends perform. Fierro seems the least likely person to be receptive to any alternate lifestyles, but people are complex and unpredictable. After his act of heroism in neutralizing the shooter, he said of the Club Q clientele, "[they] want to have a good time, have at it...that is what I fought for, so they can do whatever the hell they want."
"This is what I fought for."
Maybe his four combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan give him a little more credibility than the farcical Tucker Carlson spewing misinformation nightly, or the hypocrite Lauren Boebert who spends a lot of her social media time praising anti-LGBTQ+ organizations and anyone who supports them, then laments the tragedy in her home state.
There is no denying the horror of this event, but the heroism that prevented it from worsening has to be viewed as what it was—a sign that the haters and bigots are losing. They won't go down without a fight, but they're going down.
Helping them fall are people like Fierro, but also trans people themselves like Amy Schneider, who, Monday evening, established herself as the Jeopardy champion of 2022. Ms. Schneider had qualified for the Tournament of Champions by winning forty-consecutive daily episodes and amassing winnings of $1,300,000.
During the championship event, she talked freely and comfortably about her gender transition but never let it identify her. She was simply a person of many interests, a fantastic intellectual curiosity, and an astounding breadth of knowledge. She was funny, sometimes droll, and always personable. She never let on that she was representing countless other transgender men and women and that millions of viewers would see her as more the representative than the individual. She just played the game and won.
As I was watching last night, I hoped that people like Tucker Carlson, Lauren Boebert, and all the other make-believe Christians who pontificate about morality (in everyone except themselves) were tearing through their homes with their hair ablaze, as, once again, their bigotry proved to be indefensible. That probably didn't happen—most of them are far beyond logic and humanity.
I also remembered a classic Simpson's episode in which a character voiced by John Waters saves Simpson from certain death, forcing Homer to reevaluate his prejudice toward homosexuality—at least in this case. In the end, the Waters character turns to Homer and says, "Well, I won your respect. And all I had to do was save your life." That was 1997.
In 2022 it took a trans woman dominating on Jeopardy and an Army vet risking his life to show that we're on the right road. But the shooting at Club Q reminds us again that the road is bumpy, filled with ruts and dangers: it may not be paved over readily, but time has already begun to smooth it out.