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Group that spray painted a message to Focus on the Family after Club Q shooting, calls out the DeVos family for their role in fostering an anti-LGBTQ ideology

November 27, 2022

It has been a week since a lone gunman entered Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado, shooting and killing at least five people and injuring 25 others. 

As with most mass shootings, US officials make vague pronouncements, offer condolences and make promises to enact “tougher gun laws.” US President Joe Biden did acknowledge, “that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years.” Unfortunately, Biden never addresses the root causes of the horrific hate violence directed at the LGBTQI+ community. 

However, more radical LGBTQ groups, particularly those that identify as queer and trans, have been calling out the source(s) of all of the violence directed at them. The site It’s Going Down, posted an image that many people are sharing on social media, where people spray painted graffiti on the wall of the complex for the far right group, Focus on the Family.

The graffiti states, Their Blood is on Your Hands – Five Lives Taken!

Unfortunately, the accompanying statement that went with the image taken of the Focus on the Family complex, is often not included with the image. The group that is claiming responsibility for the spray painted message released the following statement: 

“It is important to us that you understand why Focus on the Family must be held accountable for the ramifications of their hateful theology. You have likely seen the onslaught of anti-trans legislation, of which Focus on the Family is a huge proponent, both in funding and propaganda. With an alarmingly expansive network, they work closely with powerful entities, such as the DeVos family, to promote and fund this anti-trans legislation. Focus on the Family’s goal is to eradicate queerness. Tactics they use to achieve this include indoctrination, media saturation, falsified research, and conversion therapy. We encourage you to continue to investigate the many examples of their culpability, which can be found front and center on their own website.”

GRIID has been monitoring the kind of support from the DeVos (and Prince and Van Andel) family, which is reflected in this statement. In 2016, when the the shooting at the Pulse Night Club happened in Orlando, Florida, GRIID wrote a response talking about the role that the DeVos family has played in creating an anti-LGBTQ culture, which normalizes violence against those in lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans and queer communities. In more recent posts, we have also made the connection to the funding of the DeVos family and how it fosters anti-LGBTQ violence, specifically in the Republican candidates they have endorsed. Here is just a sample of some of those recent posts:

GOP proposes anti-trans legislation in Michigan: Every co-signers of the bill has received money from the DeVos family

DeVos family has contributed nearly half a million to DeSantis, making them complicit in the Don’t Say Gay bill

Republican Representatives introduce a vicious anti-trans bill in the Michigan State House

Now, Grand Rapids likes to claim that they are all about equity and inclusion, but think about this for a moment. There are some 800 churches in Grand Rapids, yet there are only a few that have publicly stated that they support and welcome the LGBTQ community. If you go to the site and put in Grand Rapids, Michigan, you can see that there are 30 churches listed as open and affirming. 30 out of 800, while pitiful, is not because of a lack of education, but a reflection of the fact that this city, and West Michigan as a whole, is deeply rooted in heteronormativity, which means it is inherently anti-LGBTQ. A major contributing factor in the heteronormativity in this city is because of the role that the DeVos/Prince/Van Andel/Cook families and other members of the Grand Rapids Power Structure play in fostering an anti-LGBTQ culture. 

So instead of vague statements or thoughts & prayers for those who were killed at Club Q or the Pulse, or potentially at places like Rumors right here in Grand Rapids, why don’t we organize a real solidarity action that exposes the DeVos family in the same way as the queer activists did in Colorado? 

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