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Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson

Meet one of the artists, disruptors, educators, groundbreakers, innovators, and storytellers who all helped make the world a better place for LGBTQ+ people.

It feels like all our lives changed on November 19, 2022, when an anti-LGBTQ+ shooter took the lives of five people and injured scores more at Colorado Springs’ Club Q. But for Michael Anderson, the nightclub’s only bartender to survive the attack, the mental wounds of that day will never heal. Still, Anderson is rebuilding his life, working to finish his degree in political science and journalism, and sharpening his skills as an activist for gun control and LGBTQ+ equality.

“I am a political advocate,” Anderson says. “However, I never set out to become one. It was through the horror and trauma of surviving the mass shooting attack at Club Q in Colorado Springs, which was my employer, and watching my friends and patrons die, that led me down this path. I knew after the shooting occurred, that I would never allow someone else to tell my story for me. While it has not been easy at times, I have used my voice to advocate for change as I refuse to have such violence have happened in vain.”

Just weeks after the massacre, Anderson gave testimony to the U.S. House Oversight Committee, describing how attacks like Club Q are meant to deter queer people from living our authentic lives. He insists the community needs to go in the opposite direction. “With the increased attacks on our community by politicians and on social media…we must remain confident in who we are, for who we are is exactly who we are meant to be,” Anderson says.

Anderson could never have imagined that months after the shooting, his hero, Christina Aguilera, would ask him to present her with GLAAD’s Advocate for Change Award at the organization’s awards ceremony in Los Angeles. “Christina has been my hero since I was young, it was her music that helped me accept myself,” he says. “It was truly surreal to present her with such a well-deserved honor, and to be able to sit with her during the awards show.”

Anderson is concentrating on finishing college and perhaps starting a political career.

“I remain focused on ensuring that the future of Club Q is one inspired by resilience, strength and persistence,” he says. “I believe it is time the younger generations rise up and take our place in the halls of government. It is the youth that will save our climate, create a safe country through gun reform, and ensure equality for all.” @michaelanders0n


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