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Colorado Springs shooting survivors to speak before Congress about anti-LGBTQ violence

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Photo by Mike Kline (notkalvin)/Getty Images

(WASHINGTON) — Survivors of last month’s Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will provide testimony on Wednesday at a House Oversight Committee hearing regarding anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, extremism and violence.

The hearing, according to organizers, will address the ways in which anti-LGBTQ legislation and rhetoric is rising — and may be fueling a rise in violence against LGBTQ Americans.

This year, Pride events, drag shows, LGBTQ-friendly medical institutions and more have all become prominent targets of violence, threats and protests.

Michael Anderson, the only Club Q bartender to survive the shooting, is expected to speak at the hearing along with injured club patron James Slaugh and his boyfriend, Jancarlos Dell Valle, and Mark Slaugh, James Slaugh’s brother who was also at the club that night.

“From Colorado Springs to my own district in New York City, communities across the country are facing a terrifying rise of anti-LGBTQI+ violence and extremism,” House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

Maloney continued, “Make no mistake, the rise in anti-LGBTQI+ extremism and the despicable policies that Republicans at every level of government are advancing to attack the health and safety of LGBTQI+ people are harming the LGBTQI+ community and contributing to tragedies like what we saw at Club Q.”

More than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced at the state level in the last year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

The suspect accused of killing five people in a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs is facing 305 charges, including first-degree murder, attempted murder and bias-motivated crimes. The suspect has not yet entered a plea.

Investigators and witnesses at the club have said the shooter opened fire as soon as they walked into Club Q around midnight on Nov. 19. Patrons at the venue then tackled and subdued them until police arrived, according to witnesses.

The mass shooting was being investigated as a hate crime.

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