Some questions have surfaced in recent months. In this FAQ, we endeavor to respond to all of them, but please feel free to DM us on socials, give us a ring, or send us an email if you don’t see an answer here.
Why did Inside Out temporarily close its in-person community center?
When the Club Q shooting occurred, Inside Out was on a week-long fall break, so our center was already closed. Our community expressed concerns about gathering together, and we recognized a growing threat of mass gun violence. We asked ourselves: How can we continue to gather in-person safely and effectively?
During the week we were closed, we participated in immediate response to the tragedy (see more below) and then began to address safety and security at our center. While we have had robust safety measures in place before (see more below), the reality of mass gun violence and extremism has evolved. We immediately initiated a safety audit and began revising safety practices, endeavoring to be responsive and connected to our young people and staff, and their concerns.
Are you closed for good?
Inside Out was founded in 1990, during a time of nationwide anti-LGBTQIA2+ hate. We’re certainly not going to let hate stop us now. Which is all to say: HECK NO! We are planning a phased reopening starting in March, and we are excited to return to our beloved community center.
Were you not prepared for security risk?
We’ve always had security plans and procedures in place to safeguard the center and the youth inside it. However, like our sibling LGBTQIA2+ organizations across the nation, we’re all faced with a new form of anti-LGBTQ extremism, specific targeting from organized white supremacist hate groups, and the reality of mass gun violence. Our practices and procedures must prevent these tragedies. We have been working with experts, trained to protect against white supremacist violence, to ensure we are prepared for any security risk posed by these particular hate groups.
What has IOYS done while it’s physical space has been closed?
Beginning immediately after the shooting and continuing today, we have organized in-person community outings for youth to come together in undisclosed spaced. We facilitated and coordinated national governmental efforts to get resources and connections to this community. We have continued to advocate for youth in schools, train our community on LGBTQIA2+ identities and support, and have even grown our staff to include three new positions. All this, while each of us personally deals with grief and trauma.
By the numbers:
Are you involved in the Colorado Healing Fund, and in what capacity?
We have a single seat on an advisory committee to the CHF. We are among multiple individuals on that committee recommending that outside foundations pick up all costs associated with CHF’s labor, so 100 percent of the CHF money will go to survivors and families. At this point, they have committed to those recommendations. Because we serve only in an advisory capacity, we have no formal power over the decisions made by the Healing Fund.
Is Inside Out collecting or distributing funds to survivors?
We don’t have the capacity or expertise to do that, and we have been referring any survivor-oriented donations to the appropriate fundraisers and channels. Immediately after the shooting, we changed our online donation page to link to survivor-supporting fundraisers, so no one would even assume that money that came to us would go to survivors. Like LGBTQIA2+ organizations across the state, IOYS did receive national support after the attack, but anyone who supported us knew that they were donating to the long-term work of empowering LGBTQIA2+ young people in our community. And we are so grateful for that support, because we are able to put some of those funds immediately toward security efforts.
What have you done for survivors?
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, we coordinated with GLAAD, a national LGBTQ media organization, who sent folks to Colorado Springs to help with media requests, provide expertise, and use their network to get national organizations to help our community. We hosted four total vigils (three the day after the tragedy), to offer space to grieve. We hosted meetings with federal governmental entities like Assistant Secretary of Health Admiral Levine to form connections with our national government and our community.
We are continuing to engage in such meetings, but thankfully connections have been built, and now the organizations and entities we helped introduce are working with each other. We are so grateful other community members and organizations have since stepped into the role of survivor and community support. There is a coordinated and well-resourced group currently identifying what the next steps are. We participated in that effort, and we’re not sure what our role will be moving forward. But because the work is in great hands, we can focus on our mission. As always, our focus is on LGBTQIA2+ youth and the adults who support them.
What’s next for Inside Out?
Our legacy in this community is rooted in supporting young LGBTQIA2+ people – providing them with space, connection, and resources. Our staff is growing, increasing our capacity to respond to advocacy needs and serve young people at our center. As stated above, we are planning a phased reopening in March as we continue to implement new safety and security measures in coordination with experts, and IOYS participants, staff, and volunteers.
My question wasn’t answered here.
Feel free to email us, DM us on socials, or give us a ring, or send us an email with any additional questions you might have.