As investigators continue to collect leads on Saturday night’s shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs that killed 5 people and injured 25 people Monday afternoon, LGBTQ rights groups have said there is a rising state of fear and panic.
Sarah Kate Ellis, the CEO and President of GLAAD, came to GMA3 on Monday to speak about the fear and anger in the community and had some strong words for people and groups who have recently stepped up their anti-LGBTQ rhetoric .
GMA3: Authorities will investigate this and determine whether or not this constitutes a hate crime. But what’s your reaction to what we’re seeing in Colorado Springs this weekend?
SARAH KATE ELLIS: Sure. Motive aside, I think what we’re seeing is a 12-year high in hate crime, [a] 41% increase over the trans community alone. And I think we’re seeing three things driving that. One of them is anti-LGBTQ politicians, who this year have proposed over 300 anti-LGBTQ policies or bills without a valid reason and without answering and solving an existing problem.
Second, we see that social media platforms amplify hate. It’s actually part of the business model that the more viral the hate, the deeper the hate, the worse, the more viral it is. So you make money from it. So they have the tools to stop it, the lies, the misinformation, but they’re not using them.
And third…is government inaction on gun safety reform. Where do we stand in this regard and in terms of accountability for social media platforms? So these three things have created an environment that makes the LGBTQ community completely unsafe. Even here in New York City, a brick was thrown through the window of an LGBTQ bar in Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday night for the fourth time in a week. At GLAAD, we’ve recorded over 100 either violent or violent threats at drag queen events this year. So it’s real, it’s happening. And it leads to what we saw on Saturday night.
GMA3: Yes, I know it gives you chills when you hear you talk not just about the rhetoric, not just about the proposed legislation, but the actual actions that will be taken against this community. What needs to be done? what would you like to see
ELLIS: I need politicians to stop this. Just stop using the LGBTQ community as your political football. Stop inventing and spreading lies about our community. Stop. Just stop. [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis, [Colorado Rep.] Lauren Boebert, stop it.
Second, I need social media companies, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, to stand up and stop profiting from this hate and misinformation.
And third, we need government to speak out and speak out and take action. We need that. And it’s not a secret formula. It’s all here. We have all the resources at GLAAD.org to stop this culture of hate and misinformation and disinformation. I also want to say that as GLAAD we are local to Colorado Springs and helping Club Q, a very small community in Colorado Springs that is LGBTQ. So we’re here to help them get through this now.
There is a fund called the Colorado Healing Fund. Many people are asking how they can help now, and this is an opportunity that leads directly to the victims. It has been verified and it is a fund used in the past and in this mass shooting.