The owner of the Colorado Springs gay bar where five people were shot to death on Saturday and a further 17 were injured says growing anti-LGBTQ sentiment may have contributed to the attack. “It’s different to walk down the street holding my boyfriend’s hand and getting spit at (as opposed to) a politician relating a drag queen to a groomer of their children,” said Nic Grzecka, the co-owner of Club Q, in an interview with The Associated Press. “I would rather be spit on in the street than the hate get as bad as where we are today.” In recent years, right-wing politicians and social media users have become increasingly hostile towards the LGBTQ community, comparing those who are open about their sexual orientation or gender identity to pedophiles by way of the phrase “groomer.” In March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, preventing some public school teachers from disclosing their sexual orientation to students. “Lying about our community, and making them into something they are not, creates a different type of hate,” Grzecka said, whose voice, according to The Associated Press, was “tinged with exhaustion.” The suspect, who was subdued by heroic patrons inside the club, has not entered a plea or spoken about the incident, according to reports.
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