Karine Jean-Pierre
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Biden, Polis, and More Call Out Gun Violence, Anti-LGBTQ+ Bigotry

Club Q memorial

A memorial takes shape at the site of Club Q. Photo by Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

President Joe Biden, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, and civil rights groups are responding to the shooting that took place Saturday night at the LGBTQ+ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, calling out gun violence and bigotry against LGBTQ+ people.

Biden released this statement:

While no motive in this attack is yet clear, we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years. Gun violence continues to have a devastating and particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation and threats of violence are increasing. We saw it six years ago in Orlando, when our nation suffered the deadliest attack affecting the LGBTQI+ community in American history. We continue to see it in the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women — especially transgender women of color. And tragically, we saw it last night in this devastating attack by a gunman wielding a long rifle at an LGBTQI+ nightclub in Colorado Springs.

Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence. Yet it happens far too often. We must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate.

Today, yet another community in America has been torn apart by gun violence. More families left with an empty chair at the table and hole in their lives that cannot be filled. When will we decide we’ve had enough? We must address the public health epidemic of gun violence in all of its forms. Earlier this year, I signed the most significant gun safety law in nearly three decades, in addition to taking other historic actions. But we must do more. We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off America’s streets.

Today, Jill and I are praying for the families of the five people killed in Colorado Springs last night, and for those injured in this senseless attack.

From Polis, the only gay man serving as governor of any U.S. state:

This is horrific, sickening, and devastating. My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and made it clear that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman likely saving lives in the process and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn together.

From One Colorado Executive Director Nadine Bridges:

There are no words that will undo the horror that continues to devastate our communities. Our safe spaces continue to become places of grief, trauma, and sorrow due to gun violence, mass shootings, and the general disrespect for our human condition. Not one more life should be taken or lost. No one should feel unsafe to celebrate or live authentically in public. I commend the Colorado Springs first responders, police department, and the courageous Club Q community who worked swiftly to stop the violence. One Colorado calls on our local, state, and federal lawmakers to go beyond statements and condolences and take swift, exacting action to ensure public safety. It is imperative to protect every single person in our communities — especially our most vulnerable, on which gun violence has taken an enormous toll. To the courageous Club Q community who experienced this nightmare — I see you, One Colorado is here for you, and your LGBTQ+ community stands with you.

From Human Rights Campaign Incoming President Kelley Robinson: 

We are absolutely heartbroken by last night’s deadly shooting at an LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs. 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.

From Kierra Johnson, National LGBTQ Task Force executive director:

Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we are deeply saddened to hear about the tragedy at Club Q in Colorado Springs. Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones and we are hopeful for the quick recovery of those injured.

From GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:

Our hearts are broken for the victims of the horrific tragedy in Colorado Springs, and their loved ones. This unspeakable attack has robbed countless people of their friends and family and an entire community’s sense of safety. You can draw a straight line from the false and vile rhetoric about LGBTQ people spread by extremists and amplified across social media, to the nearly 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year, to the dozens of attacks on our community like this one. That this mass shooting took place on the eve of on Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we honor the memory of the trans people killed the prior year, deepens the trauma and tragedy for all in the LGBTQ community. The media must stop spreading misinformation and elevate the truth that LGBTQ people exist, belong and want to live in peace and safety. Elected officials and corporate leaders must act immediately to prioritize this truth, and protect everyone’s safety.

From Kasey Suffredini, vice president of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project:

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. 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.

From Lambda Legal CEO Kevin Jennings:

We mourn with the LGBTQ+ community in Colorado Springs for the lives taken and those wounded in this act of hate. 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.

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