Bay Area LGBTQ advocates say Colorado Springs nightclub shooting likely fueled by anti-gay rhetoric

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Bay Area LGBTQ advocates say Colorado Springs nightclub shooting likely fueled by anti-gay rhetoric
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The Bay Area woke up to news of the tragic shooting in Colorado on Sunday, and it sparked many members of the LGBTQ+ community who witnessed other shootings targeting them nationwide.

“Obviously my heart goes out to the victims who were injured, all of Colorado Springs – a horrific tragedy,” said State Sen. Scott Wiener.

Wiener says her LGBTQ+ community is mourning the lives lost at Club Q in Colorado Springs. He says the massacre unfortunately comes as no surprise to him.

“Words and rhetoric have consequences,” Wiener said.

Wiener believes the nightclub shooting may be a product of rising anti-LGBTQ laws and sentiment across the country.

“Our community is being targeted. We are being politically targeted with online threats and harassment, which sometimes escalate into violence, and that needs to stop,” he said.

“My heart breaks for Colorado Springs, just like it does for my native Orlando,” said Castro LGBTQ advocate Christopher Vasquez.

Vasquez said the shooting immediately brought him back to Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, where a gunman killed 49 people in 2016.

VIDEO: Club Q shooting: 2 victims identified after gunman killed 5 at LGBTQ nightclub and injured dozens more

“I think we should have learned from Pulse that words matter, people are targeting LGBTQ people, right now we are under duress. I was actually working on the doorstep of a club last night when I received a notification about It was triggered knowing it could happen at any LGBTQ club,” Vasquez said.

“Your heart drops, again,” said Patrick Bowers.

Bowers has been serving drinks at the Castro’s Moby Dick bar for 20 years.

“It gets crowded some nights. You can’t see everyone coming through the door,” Bowers said.

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He knows that violence can happen anywhere and anytime.

“Until we get mental health issues and guns in this country under control, that will be a reality,” Bowers said.

Moby Dick and other Castro bars are reviewing their security measures.

A solemn sound came from the San Francisco Men’s Gay Chorus Sunday night during a vigil honoring the victims of the fatal shooting.

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“It’s devastating, but we’re not going anywhere, we’ll be there, we’ll get through this and we’ll be back,” said San Francisco resident Chris Stevenson.

“If we don’t bear witness to the tragedy that happened — if we stay in our beds and ignore it — it will go on and on,” said Tom Ammiano, former California assemblyman and overseer of San Francisco.

Ammiano gathered among many others at a vigil in the heart of the Castro District at Harvey Milk Plaza.

“It’s not lost on many people that this is the month of our mayor’s and Harvey Milk’s executions,” Ammiano said. “Connecting the dots today, we don’t see the change we really wanted. We see bigotry and hate.”

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“I’ve been to this place too many times for the same reason. The fact that I’m here again is like that,” said Carly McCarthy. “I wish it was for a celebration of more gay rights and not more violence against my community.”

Five people were shot and killed at Club Q in Colorado Springs on the eve of Transgender Memorial Day. On Sunday afternoon, on the steps of San Francisco City Hall, the community gathered to honor the trans lives lost this year.

“Today is always a sad day in our community, so I was already ready to have a tough day, but to find out, it wants to make you desperate, but it’s not,” said Suzanne Ford, temp worker. executive director of San Francisco Pride.

“That’s the job of this city and our organization: to let people know that it’s not hopeless. You can grow up and be who you are, you can love whoever you want,” Ford said.

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“It’s scary. It’s heartbreaking. It’s tragic, and I really hope people have woken up to recognize that our fight is not over,” Anjali Remi said, calling the shooting a call to action.

“The LGBTQ community in this country has been attacked and hate is not something that is born. Hate is what we cultivate and we need to stop this heinous homophobia and transphobia in this country,” Remi continued.

“When you hear someone say something negative about LGBTQ people and you don’t say anything, you’re part of what happened and I’m going to say it,” Ford said. “Every time I do one of these interviews, I’m going to call her. It starts with the hate that we let happen.”

When asked if they would increase patrols around the Castro District in San Francisco following the mass shooting in Colorado, the SFPD sent out this statement:

“The San Francisco Police Department is aware of the incident that occurred in Colorado Springs. We are in constant communication with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to ensure everyone’s safety. in the city of San Francisco. credible threats to the city. That being said, law enforcement relies on the cooperation and assistance of the public to report criminal activity. If you see something, say something! Dial 911. Report suspicious activity or items.”

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