Rural Oklahoma Pride founders condemn hate after Colorado night club shooting
CHICKASHA, Okla. (KSWO) - LGBTQ+ community members from across southwest Oklahoma are condemning violence following a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs.
Authorities are investigating it as a hate crime.
Bryan Paddack and Jacob founded Rural Oklahoma Pride to help small communities build pride networks, but when a tragedy like this happens, they said it sends a ripple effect through the LGBTQ+ community, no matter how far away.
“It is scary,” Jacob said, “but it’s something that scares everybody because no one wants to see a change in the world, but that’s what we do best. We go out, we try to change this world, and we want to see peace, love and happiness for our small towns because they deserve it just as well as our bigger cities do.”
Rural Oklahoma Pride serves as a support system for those who live in small towns across the state.
“So many people die daily because of their differences or their sexuality preferences,” Jacob said. “It’s time that we stop this hatred because the more hatred happens, the worse this world’s going to get.”
The group hosted a drag show in Chickasha a couple of weekends ago.
Drag entertainer Harmony DeLovely performed there.
She said she still hasn’t emotionally recovered from the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people died.
“It’s just heart-wrenching that it’s targeted at my community, my brothers and my sisters,” DeLovely said.
DeLovely said now is the time to show support for LGBTQ+ members in need.
“You cannot be silent on this,” DeLovely said. “You have to speak up and let people know we are here. We’re not going anywhere. You can’t scare us into changing.”
“We’re not here to fight about your religious rights. A lot of us are very religious and believe in a higher power. I’m going to use that term very broadly at this point, but we don’t want you to change. We just want you to believe in what the Bible says: profess love. Christ loved everyone,” Paddack said.
For more information about Rural Oklahoma Pride, you can visit their Facebook page or TikTok. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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