LGBTQ+ advocates in the US have criticized the far-right Colorado Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert as a hypocrite in light of her past anti-LGBTQ+ statements after she offered prayers to the victims of the recent Club Q mass shooting in Colorado Springs.
The shooting at the LGBTQ+ club that left five dead took place on the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. ACLU-Colorado’s senior policy strategist and trans activist Anaya Robinson called Boebert’s condolences “disingenuous”, and blamed incendiary comments about the community for such tragedies.
Robinson said: “Certain language and statements are the things that are perpetuating this violence and this hate. Change course … dehumanizing individuals and communities because of who they are and who they love – it makes it accessible to harm them.”
According to a study by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, “Transgender people are over four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violent victimization, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault.”
Boebert has been outspoken about her stance against same-sex marriage, which the US supreme court ruled a constitutional right in the landmark 2015 case, Obergefell v Hodges.
On her official government website, Boebert says that she opposes “efforts to redefine marriage as anything other than the union of one man and one woman”.
Boebert has also taken aim at drag shows, which have become a focus of bigoted far-right conspiracy theories and a target for violence and protests. On Twitter, she once wrote: “ Take your children 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-LGTBQ+ policies in legislation.
In 2021, Boebert introduced a bill to block funding for research into gender-affirming treatments for transgender youth. Boebert called the research “evil” and spread conspiracy-based misinformation about the National Institute 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 “child-grooming”.
It’s a comparison advocates from Glaad, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer media advocacy organization, have 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 is a toxic combination – researchers who study extremism say it’s like a hot pan on a burner with popcorn kernels ready to pop – anyone listening can be encouraged to pop.
“Boebert led on creating 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 stops her barrage of anti-LGBTQ hate and works to enact stronger gun safety reforms? We need politicians who will represent us all and keep us safe, not politicians who put our lives in danger just to bolster their careers.”
In its official statement on 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 has robbed countless people of their friends and family and an entire community’s sense of safety.
“You can draw a straight line from the false and vile rhetoric about LGBTQ people spread by extremists and amplified across social media, to the nearly 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year, to the dozens of attacks on our community like this one.”