DENVER, Colorado — Dixie Krystals woke up on the morning of the Club Q shooting to half a dozen phone calls and missed messages. As a drag performer, friends and family were checking to make sure she was okay.
"Part of me was just like, 'Oh, it happened again,'" Dixie said. "We are constantly under attack. Just like our black community, our Asian community, our Hispanic community."
That morning, Dixie instead was reaching out to her friends and family in the LGBTQ+ community. To Dixie, Club Q is a reminder that her safety is always at risk especially when she performs.
"It’s sad because I just think that it’s a sign of the times, and I think that it’s never going to go away. One of the things that I said the other night, is as long as we have the word hate in our vocabulary and families still continue to use it, then it is always going to be around," Dixie said, who has been performing for over 20 years.
In the wake of Club Q, she and others are hoping that it spurs more conversations about LGBTQ+ safe spaces. She is urging venues, bars, restaurants and other entertainment spaces to push for additional measures.
"It's having those hard conversations with venues that either just don’t have the staffing, the funding to make things happen right away. I just feel like it’s my responsibility to be the voice, to listen, to come up with other things that they can to make it okay to be able to perform again," Dixie said.
After so many years in drag, Dixie does more family-friendly events as opposed to bar scenes, such as the Club Q setting. Many of her friends that do perform at more bar settings are turning to Dixie for guidance on how to navigate the safety component.
"I’m not going to stop working and entertaining because that means that they have won," Dixie said.
She is hoping that as she works to find a solution to the safety question on so many performers' minds, she also empowers people to continue performing as she has.
Dixie also hopes to advance change on the legislative side and help fundraise for venues that cannot afford to modify their facilities.
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