Colorado nightclub shooting: Philadelphia transgender community reacts to shooting with grief, fear

A night of fun turned deadly in Colorado after a mass shooting at an LGBTQ+ nightclub. Five people are dead and at least 25 people are injured. The gunman is in custody. The impact of the attack is having a ripple effect across the United States. In Philadelphia, there's enormous grief and sadness in the transgender community, coupled with very real fear on a very special day.

"I’m trying not to cry," said Naiymah Sanchez.

Sanchez is a trans rights organizer with the ACLU of Pennsylvania. She says what happened in Colorado is awful enough, but it’s even more devastating on National Transgender Remembrance Day.

"I was in the house celebrating just existing as a trans person, with my family. And, now I’m outside doing an interview with you about something that should have been prevented. Could’ve been avoided, if we would’ve taken actions around certain things sooner," Sanchez explained.

Tatyana Woodard said, "First thing that went through my mind is here we go again."

Woodard is the Executive Director of the Ark of Safety, a LGBTQ+ safe haven, a 12-bed emergency shelter for trans women, that’s filled to capacity with a waiting list.

"Situations like this shake you to the core. You know, we want to go out, we want to enjoy ourselves. We deal with a lot on a daily basis," Woodard said.

She says what happened in Colorado is shocking, but not surprising. "Even right now, I’m outside of the shelter and I want to keep it disclosed, because I’m always in fear of our participants and guests walking down the street and getting harmed."

Woodard is not giving up, but after the latest mass shooting, she says it gets harder every day. "Even talking to the news and being so public about who I am is scary. I’m just thinking that someone may even try to come and hurt me, because of me being out and, you know, proud of being a Black trans woman. So, it’s just sad."

Anyone interested in donating to Ark of Safety can get more information, here.