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'Those need to be safe havens for us': LGBTQ advocates react to BB gun incident at Fountain Haus

Fountain Haus
Posted at 5:55 PM, Jun 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-26 14:31:11-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On the surface, it might just have been someone allegedly shot at with a BB Gun in Westport, but to LGBTQ advocates it's much deeper.

"With Pulse and Club Q, these attacks have been a lot worse," said Kory Burch, show director at Missie B's. "This one was a BB Gun, but it's a scare tactic to get us to go into hiding and not be as loud."

Burch is referring to an incident that happened outside of Fountain Haus early Sunday morning.

Someone who was waiting to get inside the bar reported feeling a pain in their arm and believe they were shot by a BB gun.

The incident happened just weeks after KCMO became a "safe haven city" for gender-affirming care.

Still, Karla Dubon, a licensed professional counselor and non-binary advocate, said incidents like these make the community feel unsafe.

"Kansas City becoming a sanctuary city, there are these things that KC is trying to put out that says, 'We are a welcoming city,' and it's safe to be yourself," Dubon said. "Then incidents like this make that seem null and void."

Missie B's is one of the oldest gay nightclubs in Kansas City.

It's only a few minutes away from Sunday's incident at Fountain Haus.

"We have five bars centered around LGBTQ individuals, and those need to be safe havens for us," Burch said. "They are safe havens for us."

Outside of Fountain Haus are the makings of a gay Pride flag painted in the street and a flag hanging from the bar.

However, Dubon said this symbolism doesn't mean protection.

"It feels good to have that, but there needs to be intent behind making queer people feel safe," Dubon said.

Burch has seen incidents like these trigger different responses in the past.

"You see a lot of times, people who are 40, 50 years old coming out the closet, because they got scared back into it," Burch said.

As a counselor, Dubon has navigated many of these conversations.

"I have clients coming in saying, 'It didn't happen to me, but what if it could happen to me,'" Burch said. "And that psychological safety of — how can I walk into the community when stuff like this is happening to me?"

Their advice is live louder and speak up.

"Always use your voice, talk to someone," Burch said.

Missie B's said with Pride celebrations coming up, they are worried about escalation.

KCPD told KSHB 41 an LGBTQ Liaison Officer is in touch with management at Fountain Haus.

The FBI is involved in the investigation in case it involves a hate crime.