In the wake of the deadly shooting at a Colorado Springs gay bar that killed five people, leaders of the LGBTQ community in Vermont said such acts of violence have become more common.

“This is an all too familiar place to be,” said Mike Bensel, executive director of the Pride Center of Vermont. “Trans folks are disproportionately impacted by violence and harm. This is not a new thing.”

Outright Vermont released a statement saying the community’s grief is not “unfamiliar.”

This is not an isolated incident, but a snapshot of an escalating nationwide pattern of hate-based violence,” the statement said. “When right-wing politicians across the country base their campaigns on the idea that LGBTQ+ people are a threat, promising to decimate the rights of queer and trans youth to keep our community in line – we must connect the dots. On the heels of Transgender Day of Remembrance, the fallout of these hate campaigns is all too clear.

Like you, we were devastated to learn of the horrific mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs over the weekend. We mourn for those whose lives were taken, and our hearts are with their family and friends, those who survived the attack, and the entire Colorado community. We stand together in heartbreak with our LGBTQ+ community nationwide, whose sense of safety has been shattered yet again by this unthinkable tragedy.

Bensel says processing such horrific acts can be hard. Both the Pride Center and Outright Vermont are offering support to anyone who may be struggling; information can be found on either of their websites.

” I don’t think we have all the answers on how we can transform that harm,” Bensel said. “But I think just creating those opportunities for people to connect and heal in response and to really look at the roots of what causes harm and create some love, care and empathy in our communities is our only path forward.”