Leaders in Florida’s LGBTQ community condemned a deadly attack on a Colorado gay nightclub.
The shooting at Club Q left five dead and 18 wounded. Police have alleged shooter Anderson Lee Aldrich in custody, where he is being treated for injuries.
Equality Florida released a statement of support to the Colorado community.
“Today, we awakened to the all too familiar horror: another hate motivated mass shooting targeting a community that has been vilified and dehumanized by hateful political rhetoric,” the statement read.
“It is no coincidence that yet another community refuge, and the safety it provides, has been shattered amidst a political climate supercharged with anti-LGBTQ hate by powerful leaders and right-wing extremists. Thanksgiving tables will have empty chairs this week. Holidays will have missing faces. These are the costs of hate violence — costs we know all too well.”
The attack drew immediate reminders of the 2016 Pulse attack in Orlando. That left 49 dead, as well as the killer, who was gunned down by police.
“Our hearts go out to all those impacted and we will work with our local partners to ensure the community receives the care it needs and that we honor those stolen from us with action,” the Equality Florida statement read.
Brandon Wolf, a Pulse survivor who now serves as Equality Florida’s press secretary, also posted messages about how close news of a shooting hits home.
“My heart is broken and I’m transported right back,” he wrote on Twitter. “We don’t know the motive yet. But let’s be honest — the anti-LGBTQ hysteria being whipped up in this country has had me checking over my shoulder more than I have in 6 years. My heart aches for a community waking up to the hate-fueled hell we went through. Orlando is with you.”
A vigil is scheduled at the Pulse site at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20.
Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat whose district includes Pulse, publicized the event, but cannot attend because she will head to an organizational Session in Tallahassee.
Former Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a gay politician who took office immediately after the Pulse shooting and fought for funding for a museum site, posted that the recent shooting brought back trauma for Orlando.
“This feels like the same terrible news from 6/12/16 unfolding all over again and it just breaks my heart,” he tweeted. “Orlando stands with Colorado Springs and with LGBTQ people everywhere against gun violence, hatred and bigotry. We won’t ever give up on this fight.”
President Joe Biden released a statement about the Colorado attack. He referenced the tragedy at Pulse.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
He vowed policy action.
“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?” he said. “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.”
Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Miami Gardens Democrat and Florida’s first openly gay Senator, pushed back online against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, specifically calling out a the Libs of TikTok account frequently retweeted by conservatives for appearing to blame drag shows for the shooting.
“Have we as a country really become this cold, that ‘owning the Libs’ also translates into people not giving a damn that someone’s son or daughter will never make it back home, because they were murdered?!” he tweeted.
“Or what about people who just want to live their life FREELY, but can’t, because living their truth might just be too damn risky?! SMH… My GMa always said, ‘may not see it now, you may not even see it tomorrow, but a time will come where you’re gonna wish you did right by people.’”
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