What was supposed to be a discussion to address the transgender bathroom situation in Denton transformed into something much bigger Sunday as the terror attack in Orlando brought even more focus on LGBTQ issues everywhere.
“This shows we need to have discussions like this,” said Kat Ralph.
Ralph’s group, Keep Denton Queer, joined with several other community organizations in the city Sunday morning to host a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer alliance training at the East Side Bar.
Ralph said she’d been trying to put together alliance training for Denton business owners for years, but it finally became reality following the transgender bathroom debate taking center stage nationwide.
It just happened to be scheduled on the day a gunman opened fire on the Pulse club in Orlando, a popular gay bar, killing 50 and wounding 53 more; the largest mass shooting in US history, as well as the largest attack on the LGBTQ community.
"To know that the LGBT community is a constant target, it breaks my heart,” said Ralph.
Ralph opened Sunday’s meeting with a moment of silence for the victims and their families in Orlando.
From there, a panel of experts helped guide Denton bar owners and employees through training on how to better handle issues to respect all and make everyone feel safe; something many from the local LGBTQ community said is often difficult.
"It's powerful,” said Ralph, “it's powerful to have someone in the majority standing up for you like that.”
Leaders at the meeting called for more discussions like this one in more communities.