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Joe Biden calls for end to anti-LGBTQ violence in wake of Colorado shooting

Joe Biden and Hilary Clinton share tributes to Colorado shooting victims and call for an end to LGBTQ+ hate.

By Emily Maskell

Joe Biden (Image: Gage Skidmore / Wiki Commons)
Joe Biden (Image: Gage Skidmore / Wiki Commons)

President Joe Biden has shared a tribute to the victims of the Colorado Springs shooting where five people were killed and at least 25 injured at Club Q at the weekend (19 November). 

So far, three victims have been identified, as authorities continued to officially identify victims, by their friends and family as Daniel Davis Aston, Derrick Rump and Kelly Loving.

Biden tweeted: “Jill and I are praying for the families of the five people killed in Colorado Springs, and for those injured in this senseless attack.”

However, in a longer official statement, the President noted 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,” he added, noting the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting where 49 people were killed. 

“We continue to see it in the epidemic of violence and murder against transgender women – especially transgender women of color,” Biden noted. “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.”

Biden also pointed to the fact Club Q was a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community of Colorado but it has been turned into a place of “terror and violence.”

He calls on communities to “drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate.”

Biden then addressed America’s continued issue with 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,” Biden declared, noting he signed “the most significant gun safety law in nearly three decades” last year and yet “we must do more. We need to enact an assault weapons ban to get weapons of war off America’s streets.”

Hillary Clinton also shared a tribute to the Colorado Springs shooting victims, where she called the hate against LGBTQ+ people “horrifying and unacceptable.”

“We must all call it out when we see it and help stop its spread,” she wrote.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, noted the rhetoric between mounting hate and mass shootings.

“After Trump elevated anti-immigrant & anti-Latino rhetoric, we had the deadliest anti-Latino shooting in modern history. After anti-Asian hate w/COVID, Atlanta. Tree of life. Emanuel AME. Buffalo.”

“And now after an anti-LGBT+ campaign, Colorado Springs. Connect the dots,” she tweeted.

She also called out Lauren Boebert who had tweeted her apparent condolences even though in August the US House candidate tweeted out that she condemned kid-friend drag show and in May claimed LGBTQ-inclusive education was “grooming” children.

Ocasio-Cortez quote-tweeted Boebert’s statement on the Colorado shooting, stating: “you have played a major role in elevating anti-LGBT+ hate rhetoric and anti-trans lies while spending your time in Congress blocking even the most common sense gun safety laws.”

“You don’t get to “thoughts and prayers” your way out of this,” she added “Look inward and change.”

Governor Jared Polis of Colorado, the first openly gay man elected as a state governor in the U.S., released a statement early on Sunday (20 November), calling the shooting “horrific, sickening, and devastating.”

He added that he had been in touch with the Colorado Springs Mayor and that “every state resource is available to local law enforcement.”

“We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman, likely saving lives in the process… Colorado stands with our LGBTQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.”

In the wake of the mass shooting, Club Q shared an official donation site to help victims of the shooting on its Facebook page.

Also, the donation site, Colorado Gives 365, supports the Colorado Healing Fund, created to deal with the aftermath of mass violence and provide victims with immediate and long-term support.

Additional fundraisers from those close to Club Q victims include: Greg Resha helping to raise funds for medical and funeral expenses, Good Judy Garage has set a goal of $500,000 for funeral expenses, medical expenses and other expenses for the families of those who were killed or injured, and Classroom of Compassion is collecting funds to set up public altars and a healing youth pop-up space in Colorado Springs to honour the victims.