LGBTQ+ advocates in the US criticized far-right Colorado Republican congresswoman Lauren Bobert as a hypocrite in light of her past anti-LGBTQ+ statements after she offered prayers for the victims of the recent mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs.
The shooting at the LGBTQ+ club, which left five dead, came on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance. ACLU-Colorado senior policy strategist and trans activist Anaya Robinson called Bobert’s condolences “disingenuous” and blamed inflammatory comments about the community for such tragedies.
Robinson said: “Certain language and statements are the things that perpetuate this violence and this hatred. Change course… dehumanizing individuals and communities because of who they are and who they love – it makes it available to harm them.”
According to a study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, “Transgender people are more than four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violent victimization, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault.”
Bobert has been outspoken about her stance against same-sex marriage, which the US Supreme Court declared a constitutional right in the landmark 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges.
On his official government website, Boebert says he opposes “efforts to redefine marriage as something other than the union of one man and one woman.”
Boebert also took aim at drag shows, which have become the focus of bigoted far-right conspiracy theories and the target of violence and protests. On Twitter, she once wrote: “Take your kids to CHURCH, not drag bars.”
Boebert, who has been in office since 2021 and was narrowly re-elected in the 2022 midterm elections, also has a history of pushing anti-LGBTQ+ policies into legislation.
In 2021, Boebert introduced a bill to block funding for research into gender-affirming treatments for transgender youth. Bobert called the study “evil” and spread conspiracy-based misinformation about the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which she called the “National Institute of Horrors.”
On social media, Boebert aims to shock – equating gender-affirming treatment and surgeries to “cutting children”.
It’s a comparison that advocates for Glaad, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer media organization, called “dangerous.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of Glaad, told the Guardian: “Boebert’s vile anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and her glorification of guns and violence are a toxic combination – researchers who study extremism say it’s like a hot pan on a stove with ready-made popcorn kernels to pop – anyone listening can be encouraged to pop.
“Boebert led to the creation of a culture of anti-LGBTQ hate in Colorado and beyond. The lies Boebert spews about LGBTQ people are absolutely despicable. Instead of offering her thoughts and prayers, how about Boebert instead stopping her barrage of anti-LGBTQ hate and working to enact stricter gun safety reforms? We need politicians who will represent us all and keep us safe, not politicians who put our lives at risk just to further their careers.
In its official statement regarding the Club Q shooting, Glaad wrote: “Our hearts are broken for the victims of the horrific tragedy in Colorado Springs and their loved ones. This unspeakable attack robbed countless people of their friends and families and the sense of safety of an entire community.
“You can draw a straight line from the false and vile rhetoric about LGBTQ people spread by extremists and amplified on social media, to the nearly 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year, to the dozens of attacks on our community like this.”