(Colorado Newsline) When details of the Club Q mass shooting emerged Sunday, Colorado officials expressed shock and grief, with some directly acknowledging the shooting’s impact on the LGBTQ community while others stuck to the rhetoric of “thoughts and prayers”.
The shooting, which occurred Saturday night at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, left five people dead and 25 injured.
Democratic Governor Jared Polis, the nation’s first openly gay governor, called the shooting “horrific, disgusting and devastating” in a statement.
“My heart breaks for the family and friends of those who are lost, injured and traumatized in this terrible shooting,” he said, adding that he spoke with Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and offered support to the forces of the order by the state.
“Colorado stands by our LGBTQ community and all those affected by this tragedy as we mourn,” she said.
Court records on Monday showed the 22-year-old suspect in the shooting was arrested on charges of five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of “crime motivated by bias,” an offense under the crimes statute. I hate Colorado. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a Republican, he told reporters that the attack on Club Q “certainly has the makings of a hate crime”.
House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, co-founder of the Colorado LGBTQ Legislative Caucus, and Congresswoman Brianna Titone, chair of the caucus, called Club Q a “safe haven” for queer Coloradans.
“Having that sense of security shattered by this unspeakable act of violence impacts the entire LGBTQ community,” the Democrats said in a joint statement. “From the acts of violence that target our community every day to the horrific shootings at Pulse Nightclub, horrific tragedies like this have happened far too often and it needs to stop now. We must take urgent and meaningful action to reduce gun violence and prevent crimes that target and kill LGBTQ people.”
“It is clear why this person did this”
Democratic Senator Michael Bennet said in a statement that he was “sending strength” to the state’s LGBTQ community. He has also called for direct action.
“As we seek justice for this unimaginable act, we must do more to protect the LGBTQ community and stand firm against discrimination and hatred in all forms,” she said.
Many Democrats have linked the shooting to an increase in hateful rhetoric directed at LGBTQ people.
“This community is paying with its life for the increase in hatred and bigotry. Even in a safe space like Club Q,” Senator John Hickenlooper tweeted. “We need to do more than remember the victims. We need to give people the freedom to be who they are, love who they love, and live a full life.”
State Representative Leslie Herod of Denver said there is a clear connection between the hateful rhetoric we hear from people and what we see today.
“It’s clear why this person did this, why he walked into an LGBTQ club and fired bullets. It’s because of the hate and rhetoric we hear every day. Make no mistake. Anyone who fires up their Twitter feed or their social media feed every single day can see this hate,” she said during a Monday appearance on Democracy Now.
Democratic Representatives Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse and Jason Crow, as well as Elected Representatives Brittany Pettersen and Yadira Caraveo, also expressed direct support for members of the LGBTQ community by issuing statements condemning the shooting.
“Another senseless mass shooting has shocked Colorado. This time, the killer targeted the CO Springs LGBTQ community. In #TransDayOfRemembrance, we must honor those we have lost and work to end hate-filled and violent rhetoric. If nothing is done, nothing will change”, Pettersen tweeted.
Sunday was Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors transgender people who were killed because of their identity.
Republicans ignore the connection to the LGBTQ community
While Republican officials have also expressed grief in response to the shooting, few have mentioned the LGBTQ community that has been directly targeted and affected.
Colorado House Assistant Minority Leader Mike Lynch, who will serve as Minority Leader in the next session, was one of the few Republicans to directly acknowledge the community.
“Colorado House Republicans are deeply saddened by the incomprehensible violence and loss of life that occurred at Club Q in Colorado Springs last night,” he said in a statement. “We want everyone directly or indirectly affected in the LGBTQ community to know that we mourn with them.”
Rep. Doug Lamborn, the Republican representing the congressional district centered on Colorado Springs, tweeted who was “saddened to learn of the senseless loss of life in last night’s shooting”.
“Law enforcement and first responders are to be commended for their quick response. All people should pray for the victims and their families,” she tweeted.
Lamborn has consistently voted against legislation promoting or protecting LGBTQ rights, such as the Equality Act, which would provide consistent protection against discrimination for LGBTQ people.
In a tweets, Rep. Lauren Boebert said the shooting victims and their families are in her prayers and that “the unlawful violence must stop and stop quickly.” She did not mention the LGBTQ community, which she has been very critical of. She has claimed that the LGBTQ community is “treating” children, has criticized drag shows, bullied a transgender official, and has consistently supported anti-transgender legislation.
Resources and fundraisers
Several organizations have launched fundraisers to support victims and their families:
Inside Out Youth Services, which is based in Colorado Springs, is maintaining a spreadsheet of resources and responses, including vigils. A Colorado Springs counselor and social worker also created a spreadsheet of resources, including low-cost therapy resources.
Individuals may also contact the Colorado Crisis Services Hotline at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 to speak with a trained counselor or professional.