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Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Canals, Hayley Kiyoko, Andy Cohen, George Takei and more in Hollywood were among the entertainment industry members voicing their condolences and frustration for the LGBTQ community following a mass shooting Saturday night in Colorado Springs.
At least five were killed and around 20 injured after a 22-year-old gunman opened fire in Club Q before the shooter was subdued by patrons and eventually arrested by police. Local investigators had yet to determine a motive Sunday, but the El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen said the attack was being investigated to see if it should be prosecuted as a hate crime.
According to the local police chief, Adrian Vasquez, at least two people confronted the gunman and stopped the shooting, which took place only a day before this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual day that honors the memory of transgender people whose lives have been lost in acts of anti-trans violence. (It also came at the tail end of Transgender Awareness Week.)
The sixth mass killing this month, Saturday follows the 2016 Orlando Pulse shooting that killed 49 people and comes amid rising anti-LGBTQ legislation and political speech in the U.S.
In a statement Sunday, President Joe Biden acknowledged that the motive for the shootings was not clear, but that “we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years.”
“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,” he continued. “We must drive out the inequities that contribute to violence against LGBTQI+ people. We cannot and must not tolerate hate.”
Hollywood figures and members of the larger entertainment community shared their heartbreak on social media, including host and comedian DeGeneres, who wrote that her “heart breaks for the victims and LGBTQ+ community” in Colorado Springs. “Hate speech leads to lost lives,” she added. “No one should have to fear who they are.”
Pose creator Canals also spoke out on social media Sunday, expressing his exhaustion with having to see headlines about violence against the LGBTQ community. “I’m tired of offering thoughts, prayers, & condolences. I’m pissed that we can’t party or pray or shop or be entertained in peace,” he wrote, before asking when “are we going to start to take gun control” seriously in the U.S.?
Singer and actress Kiyoko thanked the “heroes who helped bring the shooter down” but shared that her “heart is so heavy for my LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs and the lives and loved ones taken from us.”
Star actress and model Amiyah Scott, who acknowledged Sunday as Trans Day of Remembrance, called the incident “evil” while Star Trek star Takei pointed to political leaders and their spread of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
“Call them out when they promote hate and bigotry. Remind them of the violence of Colorado Springs. Of the massacre at Pulse Nightclub. Of what nearly happened at Coeur D’Alene,” he said. “Don’t let them spread hate. Don’t let it go unanswered.”
Comedian and actress Fortune Feimster also called out politicians who “have been spewing hate and intolerance towards the LGBTQ community and then act shocked that someone would go kill members of the community. You don’t think your rhetoric inspires people to act? Stop spreading hate. People lost their lives because of it.”
Bravo host Andy Cohen acknowledged that Sunday was a “sad morning in America” and questioned whether the “sick attack in Colorado” would make politicians think twice before fanning flames of homophobia.” He added, “Let people be who they are for once and for all.”
Read below for more responses from members of Hollywood’s LGBTQ community and allies.
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