A gunman opened fire at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Saturday night, killing five people and injuring 19 others. At the time, Club Q was hosting a drag show and was expected to perform two plus drag events the next day to honor Transgender Remembrance Day. Now, however, lives have been stolen, others have been seriously injured, and the Q Club has closed its doors until further notice.
Adding insult to injury from all of this is the hypocrisy of Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., who tweeted that “the victims and their families are in my prayers.” This is the same person who has become notorious for his wild, anti-LGBTQ rhetoric Conspiracy theories and the glorification of guns and that it has played a significant role in helping to incorporate some dangerous talking points about queer and trans people. As expected, his tweet fell flat and sparked outrage from the LGBTQ community and their allies, who unapologetically called her out on not recognize exactly who was the target of the attack.
As a queer person I am heartbroken and devastated by the shooting, but as a journalist I am sadly not surprised.
As a queer person I am heartbroken and devastated by the shooting, but as a journalist I am sadly not surprised. The Club Q shooting is a tragic but predictable result of demonizing LGBTQ people and using children as political pawns.
When for the first time reported on the right-wing’s anti-LGBTQ “grooming” narrative in April, I was afraid this hateful rhetoric would lead to violence, and now my worst fears have been confirmed. For months, bad faith actors on cable TV and social media have relentlessly attacked our community, sparking constant hysteria and threats, many of which have unfortunately been spread and legitimized by certain politicians like Boebert.
Throughout his career, he has repeated voiced his disdain for the LGBTQ community. In recent months, she has unfounded accused drag queens, trans people, and LGBTQ allied teachers of “prep” of young children. She compared gender-affirming healthcare to mutilation, vilified trans athletes and claimed LGBTQ characters shouldn’t be on TV shows kids can watch. Boebert too He suggested that there should be an age limit for people to be able to exit or transition, similar to the age restrictions for alcohol and tobacco products. In August even warned drag queens to “stay away from children in the third district of Colorado” in response to a flyer announcing Drag Queen Story Hour at a local library.
Also, she has amplified the Twitter account TikTok notebooks, perhaps one of the biggest purveyors of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and misinformation. Led by Chaya Raichik, Libs of TikTok has focused on LGBTQ people, drag events, and Pride celebrations across the country.
Raichik’s account also went after doctors and hospitals that offer gender-affirming care to trans children. A Washington Post report showed how the account has been blamed for multiple children’s hospitals across the country receiving threats, including one that was the target of a bomb threat.
To make matters worse, Libs of TikTok recently targeted another drag event in Colorado just hours after news of the Colorado Springs shooting broke, once again using children to stoke unwarranted fear and hostility.
It’s hard not to draw a direct line between the purveyors of this violent rhetoric and the fact that this act of violence occurred at an LGBTQ club.
However, Boebert is not alone in her actions and feelings. She’s just one of many outspoken conservatives who promoted Libs of TikTok and used their platforms to sell hate and rile up extremists. In fact, her comments are part of a much larger moral panic fueled by conservative pundits and politicians, who have revived many old-school homophobic stereotypes and exacerbated the current virulence against trans and non-binary people for political points. cheap. This has resulted in a wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation in many states across the country, following an increase in bias-motivated harassment and hate crimes.
In addition to TikTok’s Boebert and Libs, political leaders like Representative Marjorie Taylor GreeneR-Ga. and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; foxnews anchors like Tucker Carlson; as well as conservative activists like matt walsh Y Christopher Rufoamong others, they have repeatedly attacked drag queens and other queer and trans people, spreading lie after lie and conspiracy after conspiracy.
Now that preliminary hate crime charges have been filed against the shooting suspect, it’s hard not to draw a direct line between the purveyors of this violent rhetoric and the fact that this act of violence occurred at an LGBTQ club.
For too long, his words and actions have inspired others to harass and threaten LGBTQ people at gay bars, Gay Pride events and drag shows, and now his hateful rhetoric has helped incite a deadly attack that has stolen precious lives. . What else did you expect to happen? You cannot constantly fan fear and hatred and not expect violence to ensue. You cannot baselessly malign and vilify an entire group of people simply for existing and accuse them of being a threat to children and not expect some people to feel compelled to take matters into their own hands.
Being an LGBTQ person in this country is hard enough. Having your entire existence constantly politicized, as if your very humanity is up for debate, is hard enough. But now, even our safe spaces are being attacked and taken away from us, the very spaces we were forced to create because society didn’t want to have to see us in public in the first place. We deserve so much more than this. We deserve to be able not to live in fear and that our rights and our existence are not constantly questioned. We deserve to feel safe in our own spaces and not be made to feel like our lives are somehow inappropriate. We deserve to go to gay bars and drag shows or walk down the street without being attacked, harassed or killed.
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At the end of the day, an attack on some of us is an attack on all of us, and this attack was the inevitable culmination of relentless unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and scaremongering directed at our community. Any Republican leader who has the nerve to offer his empty “thoughts and prayers” after helping to generalize this blatant homophobia and transphobia shows just how shameless and limitless his hypocrisy really is.