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GLAAD RELEASES STATEMENTS FROM COLORADO-BASED LEADERS AND GROUPS; ANNOUNCES FUND ESTABLISHED FOR SURVIVORS AND FAMILIES OF THOSE KILLED IN THE COLORADO SPRINGS LGBTQ NIGHTCLUB SHOOTING
- Last updated: May 24, 2023
GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is releasing additional responses from local groups, leaders and advocates about the deadly mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that killed at least five people and injured 25 more.
GLAAD also announces that The Colorado Healing Fund has been activated in response to the Club Q tragedy. The fund is an established, secure, single point donation site to support the survivors and families of this tragedy. For more information or to make a donation, go to www.coloradohealingfund.org and click on the “Support Colorado Healing Fund” button.
GLAAD is coordinating responses from local, state and national LGBTQ groups. Media can email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and interview inquiries.
Sarah Kate Ellis also appeared on MSNBC this afternoon, VIEW/EMBED HERE.
“In the environment we’re living in, with the political rhetoric and the anti-LGBTQ bills, there have been more than 300 bills proposed this year. We’ve seen an uptick in violence against our community, at GLAAD we are tracking that. We’ve seen more than 100 either violent or threats of violence against drag events this year so far. That’s in nearly every state in this country,” Ellis told MSNBC’s Yasmin Vassoughian.
The shooting happened on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honor the transgender people killed by violence over the last year. GLAAD has recommendations for media covering transgender people, transgender people targeted by violence – including avoiding “deadnaming” or using a trans person’s discarded birthname without permission – and about Trans Day of Remembrance here and in the GLAAD Media Reference Guide. GLAAD’s annual Virtual Vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance is posted on Twitter and includes names and details about the trans lives taken so far in 2022, at least 32 that we know of.
GLAAD urges media to familiarize themselves with reporting on LGBTQ people, LGBTQ people who are victims of crime, and other issues important to the LGBTQ community via the GLAAD Media Reference Guide, a comprehensive resource created by GLAAD and 23 coalition and corporate partners for the most accurate and inclusive news storytelling.
Statements to include in your coverage:
Inside Out Youth Services, Colorado Springs:
“We are absolutely devastated by the horrific act of violence at Club Q in Colorado Springs last night. Our community is mourning the loss of five loved ones today, along with their friends and family.
Here in Colorado Springs, Inside Out Youth Services works with young people every day to build community, and the youth we serve deserve better — they deserve to be safe from fear, threats, and violence. We call on Colorado’s leaders to step up and condemn this hateful attack and condemn the anti-LGBTQIA2+ rhetoric that fueled it.
Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we mourn the lives of transgender people who have been killed. This mass shooting has compounded the pain already felt so keenly by our community.”
One Colorado statement
“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.”
– Nadine Bridges, MSW (she/her), One Colorado Executive Director
“I’m in shock and heartbroken by the news that this happened in my own community here in Colorado Springs. Personally, Club Q has been a huge part of my life and, as one of the very few safe spaces for queer folks in the area, I know it has been so important to many others. It’s devastating that someone would intentionally target a safe space. My heart is with the whole city because this impacts us all. In times like this, it can feel isolating but we need to lean on each other and be in community because all we have is each other. There is a tomorrow—we just need to figure out what that looks like and how we are going to shape it together.”
– Stoney Bertz (he/they), One Colorado Southern Colorado Field Organizer
At least 5 have died and 18 were injured. The shooting takes place on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honor the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. One Colorado extends our deepest care and condolences to our community members in Colorado Springs and to everyone who has been impacted by gun violence. We offer the following resources for support in the immediate aftermath:
National Victims of Violent Crimes, 1-202-467-8700
Colorado Crisis Services, 1-844-493-TALK (8225)
Crisis Text Line, Text HOME to 741741
Trevor Project, Text START to 678-678
“What happened in #ColoradoSprings is absolutely devastating; our hearts are with our loved ones there, including our local members. But make no mistake: This is what happens when vitriol against us is left unchecked, when #LGBTQ people are slowly being legislated out of existence, and everyone from legislators to hate groups to social media users use the same vile talking points about us, every day. This is what happens. Devastation and violence. It starts with words, and continues to lead here, every time. Book bans. Don’t say gay. Violent protests at Pride. Bans on care for trans kids. Hundreds of pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation. It always leads to this.”
President Joe Biden
Jill and I are praying for the families of the five people killed in Colorado Springs, and for those injured in this senseless attack. While no motive in this attack is yet clear, we know that gun violence has a particular impact on LGBTQI+ communities across our nation. We must address the public health epidemic of gun violence in all forms. I signed the most significant gun safety law in nearly three decades, but we must do more. And we must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot tolerate hate.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the first out gay man elected governor in the U.S.
“This is horrific, sickening and devastating. My heart breaks for the families and friends of those lost, injured and traumatized in this terrible shooting. I have spoken to [Colorado Springs] Mayor Suthers and clarified 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 quickly to this horrific shooting. Colorado stands with our LGBTQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”
Colorado State-Rep. Leslie Herod, first Black out LGBTQ+ member of the Colorado General Assembly:
“Waking up this morning to hear that another LGBTQ+ nightclub, this time in my hometown of Colorado Springs, was attacked by a heavily armed gunman has left me devastated and numb. I am sure fury and heartache will follow in the days to come. To those impacted by this hate-motivated act of violence – the victims, their friends and family – we stand with you. Whatever you need, we are here to support you. Last night, folks went to Club Q to be with their chosen family – a safe place to be who they truly are and find connection with others. Our bars and nightclubs are often the only place where we go to find shelter from the fear and judgment of those who wish us harm. It is not easy for members of our community to find such comforting spaces. To have it shattered by a rain of gunfire is unbearable. It is not an accident that such an attack took place at the end of a week when we saw members of the LGBTQ+ community targeted for who they are and who they love. From students denied entrance in schools to employees told they could not act on same-sex attraction and must conform to their biological sex, this community – my community, our community – has continued to suffer the ravages of discrimination. We must stop driving the hate-filled rhetoric that gives license to the dehumanization of our community. This mass murder represents just the most violent endpoint of a thousand seemingly small cuts suffered by the LGBTQ+ family. Such hate combined with laws that make access to firearms far too easy have only one result. I wish I could say it was unbelievable, but that is not the case. Instead it is all too predictable. I call on all elected officials, faith leaders, community leaders to put down their weapons of hate and stand together in love – love for all of God’s children.”
Everytown for Gun Safety:
“This horrific attack in Colorado Springs is felt in the hearts of all of us in the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone should be free to celebrate their true selves without fear of being shot. We stand in solidarity with all those grieving in Colorado Springs and will continue fighting to disarm hate and save lives.” – John Feinblatt, President of Everytown for Gun Safety
Moms Demand Action
“Once again, a joyful night out ended in gunshots in America. We don’t have to live like this, and our loved ones should never die like this. Easy access to firearms coupled with bigotry is a deadly combination, as we’ve seen time and again for members of the LGBTQ+ community. As the mother of a non-binary adult child living in Colorado, I am terrified, and along with our volunteers, I’m demanding further action by lawmakers at all levels to address the gun violence epidemic in this country. More must be done to prevent these senseless killings.” – Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, in Colorado:
The rate of gun deaths has increased 41% from 2011 to 2020 in Colorado, compared to a 33% increase nationwide. This means that in 2020 there were 349 more gun deaths than in 2011.
In Colorado, the rate of gun suicide increased 28% and gun homicide increased 103% from 2011 to 2020, compared to a 12% increase and 70% increase nationwide, respectively.
In an average year, 850 people die by guns. With a rate of 14.5 deaths per 100,000 people, Colorado has the 22nd-highest rate of gun deaths in the US.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
Nex Benedict (they/them), a 16-year-old student at a public high school in Owasso, Oklahoma, died…