Holidays & heartache: The Lavender Tube on tragedies televised

  • by Victoria A. Brownworth
  • Tuesday November 29, 2022
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David Archuleta on GMA; Amy Schneider on 'Jeopardy!'; Kumail Nanjiani in 'Welcome to Chippendales'<br>
David Archuleta on GMA; Amy Schneider on 'Jeopardy!'; Kumail Nanjiani in 'Welcome to Chippendales'

What happened in Colorado Springs on November 19, just days before Thanksgiving, made for a sad holiday for many families, including the nation's LGTBQ community.

Wiping tears from his eyes, Joshua Thurman, 34, a Black gay man who was at Club Q when yet another enraged young man with an assault weapon began shooting, told local ABC News affiliate KRDO, "This was our only safe space in Colorado Springs. Where are we going to go?"

Where indeed? Where would it be safe?

On the eve of the Trans Day of Remembrance, the crowd at Club Q was there for a drag show and to celebrate and memorialize those who have died from anti-trans violence. Yet before the clock struck 12, one of the victims would be a trans woman, Kelly Loving, who at 40 was living her best life, according to her sister and friends (New York Times).

The five victims of the Club Q shooting.  

Club Q bartenders Daniel Aston and Raymond Green Vance were both killed, as were patrons Ashley Paugh and Derrick Rump. More than two dozen patrons were wounded, some critically. (Philadelphia Gay News)

The alleged shooter, Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was subdued by a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, former Army Maj. Richard Fierro. Aldrich was arraigned on Nov. 21.

Aldrich's father, Aaron Brink, a former porn star and MMA fighter, gave an extended interview with Colorado Springs CBS affiliate CBS8.

Brink said, "They started telling me about the incident, a shooting... And then I go on to find out it's a gay bar. I got scared, 'Shit, is he gay?' And he's not gay, so I said, phew...I am a conservative Republican."

Brink added, "I praised him for violent behavior really early. I told him it works... You'll get immediate results."

Aaron Brink would rather have a son who was a mass murderer than a son who was gay. Never forget how much they hate us. Never.

House of Mormon
One of the things Aaron Brink said in his CBS8 interview was, "You know Mormons don't do gay, we don't do gay, there are no gays in the Mormon church. We don't do gay."

Former "American Idol" star David Archuleta, a gay Mormon, gave an in-depth interview to ABC's "GMA" on Nov. 18. The singer detailed his "faith crisis" after coming out in the Mormon church.

"I've had a faith crisis this year," Archuleta, 31, told ABC News' Steve Osunsami, who is also gay, in an interview on Good Morning America. "So now I've had to deconstruct everything."

Archuleta, who was second during season 7 of "American Idol" in 2008 and who has had a strong solo career since, told Osunsami that he told his family he was gay and his church he was on the bisexual spectrum. They told him to find a nice girl. But after three broken engagements, he has stepped away from both the church and any attempts to pretend he is anything but queer—the way he prefers to identify now.

Archuleta told GMA that he also considered suicide, the pressure on him to match the narratives being presented to him were so intense.

"You're trying to decide what's worse," he said. "Is it worse for this feeling of being desiring men to finally explode where I can't control it anymore and you look at it as that's Satan trying to take over my soul? Or is it better for me to end my life and, that way, I'm free from that temptation?"

That someone with Archuleta's fame and international support still had these suicidal feelings and such despair speaks volumes about the impact of homophobia on individuals, particularly when that comes from ones own former refuge; church.

"That was really hard for me to accept, because my church wasn't outright aggressive towards gay people, but it's a very passive-aggressive, stern stance they have about it," Archuleta said. "A rejection."

Now the singer is working on his music and can see himself marrying another man one day. And unafraid to call out the people who should have given him the most support but instead nearly drove him to his death.

History Made on Jeopardy!
It was a thrilling seven-game Tournament of Champions on "Jeopardy!" as three top champions —Amy Schneider, Andrew He and Sam Buttrey— all competed.

Schneider had won 40 games prior to the Tournament, the second-longest winning streak in "Jeopardy!" history. She had made history by being the first out trans contestant and first out trans winner on the popular game show.

Schneider, a writer from Oakland, California, won three games in the tournament finals, narrowly beating Andrew He, a software developer from neighboring San Francisco, who won two games. The third contestant, Sam Buttrey, was another Californian. He won one game.

All the contestants thanked people before the final game began. Schneider thanked her wife, Genevieve, who she married in a private ceremony in May.

Schneider said she owed "so much to so many people." To Genevieve she said, "I can't find enough ways to say how lucky I am that the most amazing woman in the world has chosen to spend her life with me. I love you, Genevieve, and I could never, ever have done this without you."

Schneider won $250,000 for the tournament and is the first woman to win more than a million—$1.4 million. Congratulations to Amy who played fabulously against two really fine competitors in He and Buttrey. It was a very exciting tournament for those of us who are "Jeopardy!" devotees.

Nazis Then and Now
Everybody's TV news host cum PhD cum out queer, Rachel Maddow (did you forget she was a Rhodes scholar?), is now hosting a podcast, Ultra, in addition to her MSNBC duties. The podcast covers Nazis, Seditionists, and Gay Vampire Porn, so who doesn't want to tune in to that?

The multiple-Emmy Award winning MSNBC host's eight-part series "Rachel Maddow Presents: Ultra" explores the Great Sedition Trial of 1944 and what the prosecution of American fascists and Nazis in the WWII era has to teach us about holding Donald Trump and his cohort accountable for the January 6 insurrection and attempted coup against the U.S. government.

As always, Maddow is on point. On Nov. 25, Maddow was on Joy Ann Reid's show "The Reid Out," where she talked about what she called "the original 'America First' movement."

While Trump was dining with white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and the country's best-known anti-Semite, KanyeWest/Ye, Maddow was telling Reid that "I hear too much defeatism from people in our generation. Like, 'Oh, this is so terrible and there's no way to fight it...' No. We have fought this stuff in the past."

We have fought it in the past. Let's be sure we fight it just as hard, now.
MSNBC also offers transcripts of each episode online at

What to watch
We're moving into the TV dead zone of season finales (no more "Alaska Daily" until February? No!), holiday baking shows, too many holiday specials and far too many straight Christmas-themed rom coms. Something fun to check out that we'll delve into more deeply next column is Hulu's "Welcome to Chippendales." The series is the story of Indian immigrant Somen 'Steve' Banerjee who becomes the unlikely founder of the male dance revue that then becomes a cultural phenomenon. Kumail Nanjiani is spectacular as Banerjee.

He gave a fabulously funny interview to Jimmy Kimmel last week. Kumail talked about eating food constantly while he was putting on weight for "Welcome to Chippendales," and then getting sleep apnea from eating so much, breaking a tooth while eating lentils, not going to the dentist for 15 years, his bizarre experience while getting his teeth cleaned, his family celebrating Eid where they would visit the houses of 12 relatives and eat the whole way, and of course the Hulu series.

"Welcome to Chippendales" is even more fun —and hot— than you'd expect, and is streaming now.

Many Thanks
Finally, stepping out of my "we" persona briefly, thanks to the literal hundreds of readers of this column who sent me condolences via Twitter and my website on the sudden death of my wife of 23 years, the artist Maddy Gold. I referred to her many times over the years in this column as "our beloved." She was always looking for stories for me to report on LGBTQ TV and it was a running joke in our household that she was my "cub reporter."

Maddy was indeed my beloved and it is a devastating loss to me and all who loved her that she is no longer here. She was a fighter for justice and for LGBTQ rights—particularly, as an educator, the rights of queer and trans youth. the website of the funeral home, should you wish to read it. Maddy was a remarkable person who imprinted all who knew her. May she rest in peace and power. (Memorial page)

So, as the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in this country escalates and Donald Trump, who has announced his 2024 candidacy for president, dines with Kanye West/Ye and Nick Fuentes —the top anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers and white nationalists in the U.S.— you know you really must stay tuned.

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