Local therapist gives insight on importance of LGBTQ+ inclusion in wake of Club Q shooting

PITTSBURGH — In the LGBTQ+ community, 45 percent of young queer people have considered suicide. Several local gay club owners were too afraid to go on camera and talk about this weekend’s tragedy in Colorado Springs because they have nightmares about these sorts of attacks often.

“This may not be a shocking thing for them,” Courtney Ezzo, owner of Saving Sanity LLC., said.

Courtney Ezzo is a licensed counselor whose practice specializes in serving diverse communities like members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I think it validates for them that their safety concern is real,” Ezzo said.

She said this weekend’s tragedy, when a shooter entered Club Q—a gay night club—and killed 5 people, was yet another attack on the well-being and mental health of queer people.

“It dehumanizes them. They feel isolated and alone. That’s what leads to depression. That’s what leads to suicide,” Ezzo said.

Ezzo said it is that lack of safety and support that allows fear to consume their day-to-day lives from work to social, “It can impact every area of their life because safety is one of the basic needs we have as human beings.”

That’s why she believes mental health treatment especially in vulnerable populations shouldn’t be a privilege, but a standard that is covered through insurance and accepted as a social norm.

“I think history has shown we are moving in the right direction, but it is a very slow pace,” Ezzo said.

Saturday’s attack came on the same day as many across the nation, especially in the queer community, celebrated Trans Awareness Day—something clinical experts say will also have a lasting impact.

Download the FREE WPXI News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Channel 11 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch WPXI NOW

Comments on this article