National LGBTQ orgs react to Colorado shootings

LGBT Pride Month 2018. Original public domain image from Flickr

LGBTQ organizations expressed sorrow and anger in reaction to the gun attack on Colorado Springs LGBTQ bar Club Q.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said that Nearly 1 in 5 of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+bias and reports of violence and intimidation against LGBTQ+ people have been making news across the country

“We mourn with the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs for the lives taken and those wounded in this act of hate,” said Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings. “America’s toxic mix of bigotry and absurdly easy access to firearms means that such events are all too common and LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC communities, the Jewish community and other vulnerable populations pay the price again and again for our political leadership’s failure to act. We must stand together to demand meaningful action before yet another tragedy strikes our nation.”

“We are heartbroken for the victims, their families, and the Colorado LGBTQ community. The Trevor Project is here for LGBTQ young people who need help or support processing this tragic news,” said Kasey Suffredini, vice president of advocacy and government affairs at The Trevor Project. “LGBTQ people deserve to live their lives and access safe, affirming spaces and community without the threat of violence. We cannot allow our community’s sources of love, joy, and pride to become ones of fear and trauma. We must all come together to promote acceptance and condemn anti-LGBTQ violence and the rhetoric that incites it.”

“We are absolutely heartbroken by last night’s deadly shooting at an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs,” said incoming HRC President Kelley Robinson. “We know anti-LGBTQ+ hate is on the rise and gun violence impacts our community at devastating rates. We are also observing Transgender Day of Remembrance today and over the last 10 years two-thirds of the more than 300 fatalities we’ve tracked involved gun violence. We must rise against hate in the strongest possible terms, we must stand together in solidarity and love with our LGBTQ+ family in Colorado Springs and demand an end to this epidemic of gun violence. From Pulse to Colorado Springs to so many other lives stolen from us— this has occurred for far too long. HRC mourns the lives taken at Club Q last night and extends our deepest strength, love and condolences to the loved ones impacted.”

“Our hearts ache for the victims of the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs,” said NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon. “5 lives were stolen, at least 18 more injured, and countless lives will be forever changed.  It is devastating that they were targeted in a space where we look for community.  We have seen an unmistakable rise in hateful rhetoric directed at our community. This rhetoric cannot be separated from the tragedy we grieve today. Anti-LGBT messages contribute to a culture that fans the flames of violence toward us.”

“When ignorance is weaponized to become hate, people suffer,” said Dr. David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition. “When hate-filled people are without communities that love and support their ability to celebrate diversity, embrace democracy, and prioritize mental wellness, they can cause harm—to themselves and others.  People die when hateful people have access to guns and live in communities and a country that prioritizes people over weapons of mass destruction.  We’ve seen this before, and sadly, it will continue to happen until we collectively do better.”

The HRC reported that legislators in statehouses introduced 344 anti-LGBTQ bills this session, and 25 of them passed. These bills and laws attack the LGBTQ community, particularly transgender and non-binary young people and their families, preventing them from accessing age-appropriate medical care, playing sports with their friends, or even talking about who they are in school.