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Local LGBTQ community leaders speak out against hate in wake of Colorado Springs mass shooting

Local LGBTQI leaders say vigils are not enough in wake of gay nightclub mass shooting in Colorado Springs

Santa Barbara, Calif.-Although members of Santa Barbara's LGBTQ community held a vigil last night to mourn the 5 people killed at Club Q in Colorado Springs, they said vigils and prayers not enough.

Community leader a newly elected Goleta School Board members Ethan Bertrand said it seemed like a hate crime from the start even though Colorado Springs investigators have been hesitant to say that.

"Right now, throughout this country we are seeing an increase in anti-LGBTQ hate," said Bertrand," This is especially directed at trans people and queer people of color."

He said people are acting in ways that are hateful in schools and in the community.

"People are bringing up old stereotypes people are singling out LGBTQ kids and this continues all throughout."

Bertrand said he was aware the suspected shooter in custody is related to a conservative California politician who lives in San Diego.

"It is really unfortunate because that hate, especially when we see right-wing politicians who are advancing these ideas, that gets to people out there and they act on the hate," said Bertrand.

People who participated in the vigil would like to see Congress act on gun safety measures.

"How many times do we need to wake up to the morning news where we see another mass shooting, another mass shooting that has affected a marginalized community, said Bertrand, "It has been time to take action for so long and I hope after this horrific incident we as a country deal with this."

He said legislation like the Don't Say Gay bill is discrimination that leads to hateful action.

He said there are also anti-trans laws some states and even locally he has heard false claims about groomers with hidden agendas in schools.

"In the aftermath of this, it is normal for us to be scared, it is normal for us to be afraid, it is important for us to take time to grieve, but we also need to stay proud, we need to be our true selves, and we need to come together to stand in solidarity as an LGBTQ community.

Pacific Pride Foundation Executive Director Kristin Flickinger said the vigil on Sunday night under the arch at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse had already been planned because November 20 is known as International Transgender Day of Remembrance.

"Unfortunately this is not an uncommon thing."

It was on Pacific Pride's calendar.

"The silver lining, if you can even call it that, was that we were able to add the new names to our list to grieve in a timely manner," said Flickinger.

She said people seemed to need to be together.

"It was heartbreaking and beautiful, it was a balm for the soul to be with community and a tragedy that we have to have these vigils on our calendar every year."

For information about the foundation visit pacificpridefoundation.org

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here

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