Colorado Mass Shooter Father Concerned Son Was Gay ... 'We Don't Do Gay'

The person who committed mass murder at an LGBTQ+ bar in Colorado Springs has not told authorities what motivated them, but if it's what lots of people suspect -- homophobia -- then the apple might not fall far from the tree.

Aaron Brink's first reaction when he learned his son had slaughtered 5 patrons at Club Q ... "I was scared. I was like, 'Oh my god, s***, is he gay? And he's not gay,'" Brink told a reporter sighing with relief.

He wasn't done ... Brink said, "I'm a Mormon. I'm a conservative Republican and I don't do gay. I don't do gay. We don't do gay."

Anderson Lee Aldrich says they're nonbinary, but not everyone believes them. Several friends have come out and said they never even hinted they were prior to the murders. Some believe they're saying this to avoid being hit with hate crimes in addition to murder and other charges.

Brink, who is a porn star who goes by the name Dick Delaware, did express remorse for what his son did ... "There's no excuse for going and killing people. If you're killing people, there's something wrong. It's not the answer." he went on to say, "I'm so sorry for your loss."

It's unclear when the 2 became estranged, but Brink says Aldrich got a name change after he became involved in porn. He also said he was falsely informed by his ex-wife Aldrich committed suicide in 2016.

Aldrich has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury. They appeared in court for the first time Wednesday with their face battered and bruised from the beatdown they received from heroic patrons who disarmed and restrained them.

Colorado Club Shooting Suspect Mugshot Released ... Bloodied & Bruised


1:41 PM PT -- Cops just released Anderson Lee Aldrich's mugshot, and you can see extensive bruising and swelling up close. As we reported, Army Vet Richard Fierro says he took Aldrich to the ground, hitting him in the head repeatedly with his own gun, until he thought he was dead.


Richard says a trans woman, who was also inside Club Q during the shooting, joined him in the beatdown -- stomping Aldrich with her heels.

The suspected Colorado shooter is appearing in court for the first time since the mass murder.


Anderson Lee Aldrich -- who appeared bloodied and bruised, with significant damage to their face -- appeared on video for the judge Wednesday for a hearing in the case. Aldrich's time with the judge only lasted a couple mins, without much significance -- they'll be back in court December 6.

In legal docs, obtained by TMZ, Aldrich's public defender says their client uses they/them pronouns and will be referred to as Mx. Aldrich in future proceedings. It's the first time Aldrich has claimed to be part of the LGBT community on paper or even publicly.

The problem ... it doesn't appear Aldrich has ever identified as nonbinary in the past. As far as we've seen ... Aldrich has never gone by these pronouns. So, naturally, many are questioning whether this could be a play to avoid federal hate crime charges.

JUNE 2021

In any case, there are other things Aldrich is requesting here -- including notice of whether law enforcement has accessed their electronics and/or social media, noting some material may be privileged and that Aldrich hasn't given permission for certain records to be perused.

Aldrich is also requesting other private records to remain sealed, including medical and/or psychiatric treatment they might've ever received. Essentially, Aldrich and their counsel are demanding to know what the government has accessed of theirs thus far, and to provide any waivers of release they claim to have obtained from Aldrich at this court hearing.

Aldrich seems to want any personal material that can receive confidentiality and privilege under Colorado law to stay under wraps from public view as the case plays out. TMZ will be streaming the hearing to see if the judge weighs in, and if Aldrich addresses the court.

Thus far, they've been charged with five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of a bias-motivated crime causing bodily injury -- which have been handed down by the state.

Originally Published -- 10:39 AM PT

'RuPaul's Drag Race' Eureka O'Hara Allow Us to Be Human Beings ... Enough Fear Tactics!!!


Drag queen Eureka O'Hara says discrimination and propaganda are behind the recent attacks on gay bars ... and she wants the hateful rhetoric to stop, because queer people aren't going away, ever.

We got the "RuPaul's Drag Race" star Tuesday at LAX, and our photog asked what can be done to prevent these types of attacks, like the gay nightclub massacre in Colorado Springs.

Eureka says people with ill will towards queer people need to be educated, especially on the trans community -- she says the LGBTQ agenda has nothing to do with straight people or their kids, they just want to live their lives like everyone else and coexist.


As we reported ... Richard Fierro, an Army vet subdued the gunman who killed 5 people Saturday night at Club Q -- charging the shooter and pulling him down to the ground until other club-goers stepped in to help.

Eureka says trans and queer people have been forced to defend themselves forever, and refuse to just take it when someone comes after them.

In addition to 'Drag Race' ... Eureka also stars on HBO's drag series "We're Here," and suggests people sit down with their families to watch the upcoming third season to not only get educated on trans people, but also relate with them.

Bottom line for Eureka ... "Allow us to be f***ing human beings and live our lives!!!"

Colorado Shooting Army Vet Hero Breaks Down ... 'I Did What I Had to Do'


12:40 PM PT -- We spoke to Richard Fierro on Tuesday's "TMZ Live" and he not only continued shying away from the "hero" label ... but he told us who he truly considers heroic. Richard said, "Kids coming out, kids declaring what they want to do, making their goals ... that's heroic."


He also shared a touching story about a neighbor he'd never met ... and gave us an update on the injured couple whose hands he placed together in the moments after the shooting. This guy ... one in a million.


The Army vet who stepped up and took the Colorado shooter down this weekend is still reeling from the massacre -- breaking down in tears as he recounts the blow-by-blow.

Richard Fierro was on CNN Tuesday to discuss his heroism in Colorado Springs Saturday, where he subdued suspected gunman, Anderson Lee Aldrich, with the help of other patrons at Club Q ... an LGBT-friendly establishment.

Check out how he describes the harrowing story in his own words -- it's incredibly dramatic, and it clearly still has an effect on him ... because Fierro cried several times in the interview.

Like he'd previously mentioned, RF says his military training kicked in and he went into combat mode as soon as shots started being fired ... charging the shooter and pulling him down, where they tussled on the ground until other club-goers stepped in to help.

Fierro says he told the gunman he was going to kill him as he beat him with his own gun ... furious that the guy had jeopardized the lives of his loved ones. He also describes, in tragic detail, immediately rushing to help others who'd been shot after Aldrich was arrested.

In the end, the boyfriend of Fierro's daughter, Raymond Green Vance, was one of the victims who died that night. Fierro -- who's still obviously processing his emotions -- can't believe it.


It's heartbreaking to hear Fierro's account firsthand ... he says he never wanted to do this type of thing ever again postwar, noting he gave it up for a reason, and is outraged he had to enter combat here in the States, where he says people should feel safe and secure.

There was another moving moment during Fierro's CNN interview this morning ... he talked to Club Q co-owner Nic Grzecka, who thanked him for being there and doing what he did, which undoubtedly saved countless other lives. He and Fierro talked business and inclusivity.

Five people were killed during the shooting, and dozens of others were injured. Aldrich remains hospitalized in the aftermath, but he's already facing serious charges ... including several counts of first-degree murder, among others.

A motive has yet to be ascribed, and the case is under investigation.

Soccer Reporter Grant Wahl I Was Detained In Qatar ... W.C. Guards Mad Over Rainbow Shirt

Soccer reporter Grant Wahl says World Cup security guards detained him for nearly half an hour on Monday morning ... and it was all because of a rainbow shirt he was wearing.

Wahl showed up to Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Qatar for the United States' first tournament game against Wales -- and in order to show his support for the LGBTQ+ community in a country where homosexuality is illegal, he wore a shirt with a soccer ball and a rainbow pattern.

Almost immediately after getting to the venue, though, Wahl says security stopped him over the tee -- and demanded he removes it.

"You have to change your shirt," he said one guard told him. "It's not allowed."

The 47-year-old says he refused -- and sent out a quick tweet before he claims guards then took his phone and detained him for roughly 25 minutes.

"One security guard told me that my shirt was 'political' and not allowed," Wahl said. "Another continually refused to give me back my phone. Another guard yelled at me as he stood above me -- I was sitting on a chair by now -- that I had to remove my shirt."

Ultimately, Wahl says a security commander showed up and apologized, and let him into the stadium. Wahl says a rep for FIFA said sorry as well.

The incident came just hours after several World Cup teams -- including England, Belgium, Wales, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany -- announced they would not be wearing rainbow armbands as initially planned due to threats of punishment from FIFA.

NYC Gay Bar Man Hurls Brick Into Window, Video Shows ... 4th Attack In A Week


11:24 AM PT -- NYC Councilmember Erik Bottcher joined us on "TMZ Live" Monday, and he tells us VERS was packed with people when the brick was thrown ... which just adds more fear behind the attacker's intentions.


He sees the words and actions of political leaders playing a big part in the hate crimes against gay people in the past few years ... and while he's seen progress being made, he adds there's still a lot to do to keep the LGBTQ+ community safer.


A man was caught on camera chucking a brick into the window of a gay bar in New York City ... and it's reportedly been the 4th attack on the spot in a week.

The clip shows the unknown man walking up to VERS located in Hell's Kitchen Saturday night -- after hurling the brick at the window, he runs off as people nearby quickly turn their attention to the building.

Oddly enough, the guy appears to come back to the scene ... and it looks like he's trying to blend in -- he even points down the street, seemingly directing people toward the assailant.

This attack was the 4th in the past week ... according to owner David DeParolesa, who told the New York Post shatterproof glass windows were installed when he bought the place back in July -- anticipating anti-gay attacks.

He calls the string of attacks "unnerving," seeing it as "yet another manifestation of hate against our community."

The video appears to have been shot the exact same night as a gunman opened fire at Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs ... as we reported, 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich was taken into custody -- and reportedly 5 victims have died, with another 25 injured.

JUNE 2021

Aldrich had a troubling rap sheet, BTW -- getting arrested back in June 2021 after allegedly making a bomb threat against his mother.

Originally Published -- 9:41 AM PT

World Cup Teams Ditch 'OneLove' Armbands ... After FIFA Threatens Punishment

The World Cup teams expecting to wear rainbow-colored armbands promoting anti-discrimination have now backed out of the plan ... after FIFA warned the squads they would face punishment for donning the pieces.

Several players from England, Belgium, Wales, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark and Germany were all scheduled to help promote diversity and inclusion in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, with the markings on their jerseys.

But, after FIFA threatened to issue yellow cards during games over it all, the teams announced Monday they would not go through with the plan.

"FIFA has been very clear that it will impose sporting sanctions if our captains wear the armbands on the field of play," the teams said in a joint statement.

"As national federations, we can't put our players in a position where they could face sporting sanctions including bookings, so we have asked the captains not to attempt to wear the armbands in FIFA World Cup games."

The teams said they were prepared to pay any fines ... but when the potential of yellow cards and even ejections came into play, they backed out.

The squads called it all "frustrating" ... adding that their "players and coaches are disappointed."

"They are strong supporters of inclusion and will show support in other ways," they wrote.

FA Wales officials added in a tweet early Monday morning that despite having to pull out of the armband movement, "we remain with the belief that football is for everyone and stand with our LGBTQ+ members of the Welsh football family."

At least one of the armbands has made its way to the pitch, however ... BBC reporter Alex Scott was seen on Monday wearing it during live hits from one of the early morning games.

Another LGBTQ Hate Crime 5 Dead, 18 Injured in Gay Nightclub Massacre ... Police ID Suspect


7:20 AM PT -- The Colorado Springs Police Department identified the suspect as 22-year-old male Anderson Lee Aldrich.


Chief Adrian Vasquez says initial evidence shows the suspect entered Club Q and immediately began shooting. At least two brave individuals inside confronted the suspect and fought him in order to prevent further killings.


Law enforcement says the suspect used a long rifle during the shooting, and two firearms were recovered on the scene. Investigators are working to determine a motive for the attack.

FOX News

Another massacre at a gay club has left 5 dead and at least 18 injured.

A gunman opened fire at Club Q, a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs. The shooting occurred just before midnight Saturday, when authorities began receiving a barrage of 911 calls.

It appears the gunman is in custody. According to the Club's Facebook page ... "the quick reactions of heroic customers ... subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack."

A police official confirmed they apparently got the gunman ... "They did locate one individual who we believe to be the suspect inside. At this point in time, the suspect is being treated, but is in custody."

Police have not discussed or revealed motive, but the club itself has already called this a hate crime.

Club Q was hosting musical acts Saturday night, including its weekly Diva Drag Show.

The FBI is on the scene, and nearly a dozen ambulances rushed there to treat and transport the injured.

The club posted on its page, "Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community. Our thoughts are with all the victims and their families and friends. We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack."

This is far from the first attack in gay clubs. Perhaps the worst ... back in 2016, when a gunman opened fire at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing 49.

This is the latest in a slew of mass killings in America this year -- more than 500 -- snuffing out the lives of more than 2,700 innocent people.

Originally Published -- 5:19 AM PT

Akon I Don't Understand World Cup Boycott ... Every Culture's Different


The World Cup is just a day away, and the biggest sporting event in the world is already mired in controversy -- much stemming from alleged human rights issues -- causing some to boycott the soccer tourney ... something Akon says makes no sense.

TMZ Sports ran into the rap star, a big soccer fan, at LAX on Wednesday -- just four days before the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar -- and we asked him about fans who say they won't watch because of the controversy surrounding the host country.

"I don't understand the purpose of the boycott, me personally, I think everywhere you go in the world there's different cultures, different way of living, different life standards," Akon explained.

The 5x Grammy nominee went on to say he believes many of his fellow Americans who are calling for a boycott don't actually understand why they're refusing to watch.

"I think when you look at a place like America, we have a tendency of taking certain things for granted, and we got a tendency of following suit of things we don't understand. Instead of taking a trip there to understand the culture, understand what's going on, you're just going to follow suit cause everybody else says there's humanitarian issues."

FYI, Dua Lipa recently quelled speculation she'd perform in Qatar, saying she wouldn't go to the country until they "fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup." Rod Stewart also said he was offered a million dollars to perform, but he refused.

Of course, Qatar, a relatively small peninsular country with a population of under 3 million, has been accused of discriminating against people in the LGBTQ community. There are also reports of migrant workers dying while working under unsafe conditions in an effort to finish the WC facilities in the months before the tourney. Officials have also interfered with the press. These are just a few of the troubling allegations made against Qatar.

But, Akon sees it differently than the boycotters ... it's not that he's saying he agrees with Qatar, he's saying he recognizes that their culture is different.

"I think a lot of that is a cultural issue, a cultural difference. You know when you look at a place like Africa, Middle East, a lot of places, LGBTQ is not really a culture they came up under," Akon says.

"It's not a matter of dislike. It's just a different culture. know what I'm saying? it's just a matter of people better understanding each other's culture, understanding the reasons and the whys."

Akon believes we'd be a lot better off talking to the Qatari people and finding common ground, rather than ignoring them.

"How about going to explain your view from your position? Help them better understand. Know what I mean? Life is about communication. I think the moment people start jumping to conclusions and just take a position before understanding, things are always gonna be complicated."

Boycott or not, the World Cup is almost here -- the first match, Qatar vs. Ecuador, goes down on Sunday.

Candace Cameron Bure I Love Everybody ... Skirts 'Traditional' Family Comment

Candace Cameron Bure says she has love for everybody -- after facing a rash of criticism for comments she made about focusing on "traditional" families on her new network -- but she isn't backing down on her position.

The new chief creative officer at the Great American Family network released a statement Monday, saying in part, "I am a devoted Christian. Which means that I believe that every human being bears the image of God. Because of that, I am called to love all people, and I do. If you know me, you know that I am a person who loves fiercely and indiscriminately."

She continues, "My heart yearns to build bridges and bring people one step closer to God, to love others well, and to simply be a reflection of God’s huge love for all of us."

As we reported, Bure chatted with The WSJ about her new role on the network, explaining they'd work to highlight heterosexual relationships ... unlike The Hallmark Channel. Though she says The WSJ didn't include everything.

Bure states, "I had also expressed in my interview, which was not included, that people of all ethnicities and identities have and will continue to contribute to the network in great ways both in front of and behind the camera, which I encourage and fully support."

She ends her statement by saying, "The God we serve is a wildly creative and loving God.  He didn’t just capture a small part of my heart, He has captured all of my heart. He will be reflected in everything I do and say; in my family, my work and my interactions with people from all walks of life, God’s love and God’s compassion is front and center."

It'll be interesting to see how GLAAD and others take Bure's new statement, the org blasted her earlier Monday, calling the actress out of touch. JoJo Siwa also went after her.

NBL's Isaac Humphries Comes Out As Gay ... In Emotional Meeting With Teammates


Former Univ. of Kentucky hoops star Isaac Humphries -- who now plays in Australia's NBL -- revealed he's gay in a super emotional talk with his teammates on Tuesday.

Humphries sat down with his Melbourne United squad inside a team meeting room to make the announcement ... and he fought back tears as he explained the truth about his sexuality.

The 6-foot-11, 255-pound center said hiding his real identity had taken a massive toll on him, and it nearly led to death by suicide a couple years ago.

"I fell into a very dark place, a very lonely place," the 24-year-old said. "I couldn't be who I am and I attempted to take my life."

Humphries said "coming to terms with the fact that I'm gay" was extremely difficult. He revealed to his teammates that he "hated" himself and was "disgusted" by it all.

"I thought that I could not be that person in our environment, within a basketball environment," Humphries said.

Isaac, though, explained that after joining up with Melbourne United earlier this year, he became more and more comfortable with things. He said their open and welcoming culture allowed him to feel like himself, and led him to come out this week.

Now, Humphries said he wants to be a role model to the many others who are in his shoes.

"We as professional athletes have a responsibility to set examples for people," Humphries said. "The truth is there are so many other people in other worlds that are struggling every single day and don't know how to get up. Don't know how to exist. And I know how that feels. And I want to represent those people. That's my goal behind this."

The NBA immediately shared its support for Humphries in wake of the news, saying in a statement, "We are proud and grateful to Isaac for sharing his story. We know the real impact his honesty and courage will have on many others."

Humphries, who played alongside De'Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo and Jamal Murray during his time at Kentucky, has had brief stints with NBA teams following his Wildcats career ... but has starred in the NBL since 2020.

If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

Candace Cameron Bure Slammed by GLAAD Over 'Traditional' Remarks

Candace Cameron Bure wants to keep things old-fashioned at the new cable TV network she's working at ... which is drawing the ire of the LGBTQ community.

The "Full House" star recently said she'd be focusing on "traditional" families when it comes to future programming at the Great American Family network ... of which she's now the chief creative officer ... this after parting ways with her longtime home at the Hallmark Channel.

What she means by that ... portraying heterosexual relationships, and not same-sex couples. Of course, her remarks are catching a lot of backlash from a number of people and orgs ... perhaps most notably from GLAAD, which famously advocates for LGBTQ interests.

GLAAD slammed Candace, saying ... "It's irresponsible and hurtful for Candace Cameron Bure to use tradition as a guise for exclusion. I'd love to have a conversation with Bure about my wife, our kids, and our family's traditions." They went on to say CCB is out of touch, while calling on GAF stakeholders to take a stand if they cared about equality/representation.

A GLAAD rep adds, "If GAC Family's plan is to intentionally exclude stories about LGBTQ couples, then actors, advertisers, cable and streaming platforms, and production companies should take note and seriously consider whether they want to be associated with a network that holds exclusion as one of its values."

JoJo Siwa -- who's gay, and who also publicly feuded with Candace a few months ago -- also spoke out ... as did Candace's ex-costar Jodie Sweetin, who showed solidarity with JS. Hilarie Burton went so far as to call Candace a "bigot" ...


So, yeah ... big firestorm. Time will tell if Cameron and/or GAF changes course -- we know she's very conservative, and they presumably hired her, at least in part, because of that.

Nikita Dragun Says She Was Locked Up In Men's Jail After Arrest ... Jail Denies Her Claim


9:07 AM PT -- 11/10 -- A rep for Miami-Dade Corrections tells TMZ ... "Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department (MDCR) is committed to protecting the rights of the transgender community and of all LGBTQ people. MDCR has procedures in place for the appropriate intake, housing, and medical needs of transgender inmates, and we are committed to ensuring that all inmates in our custody, including transgender persons, are treated appropriately throughout our intake, classification and placement process."


"Inmate Dragun never made it beyond the booking process prior to release; therefore, she was never placed in a men’s unit. All inmates undergoing our intake process remain in an open seating (open booking) area, in the presence of correctional staff. Additionally, inmate Dragun was placed in a holding cell by herself due to her high profile status before being released, and she was escorted by an LGBTQ officer during her time at the corrections facility."


When Nikita appeared in court earlier this week, she told the judge she was being kept in a men's unit and asked to be transferred. The judge told her that was between her and the jail.

Nikita Dragun was forced into the men's unit of the local jail after Monday's arrest in Florida, a decision her rep says could've been a recipe for disaster.

Nikita's rep, Jack Ketsoyan, tells TMZ ... "The situation with Nikita, who is legally female, being placed in a men's unit of a Florida jail is extremely disturbing and dangerous."

Ketsoyan continues, "This decision made by the Miami-Dade County Corrections Department directly violates their protocol, which mandates that transgender inmates are classified and housed based on safety needs and gender identity."

As we reported, the transgender influencer was arrested this week on a felony charge of battery on a police officer ... after allegedly causing a disturbance for a long period of time, walking around the pool area naked.

According to the police report, obtained by TMZ ... when Nikita finally answered her hotel room door she allegedly swung an open water bottle, causing water to hit and spill on both a security guard and an officer, resulting in her arrest.

Nikita's rep adds she's since been released after being placed on a $5,000 bond. We've reached out to Miami-Dade County's Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center ... so far, no word back.

Originally Published -- 11/9 1:30 PM PT

Dave Chappelle at 'SNL' Working with Writers, Full Cast ... Rep Denies Boycott Report

Dave Chappelle's starting his third day of meetings with 'SNL' cast and writers, and his camp says there's been zero talk of an alleged boycott related to Dave's issues with the transgender community.

DC is hosting 'SNL' this weekend -- his first time since 2020, and since the release of his controversial Netflix special "The Closer" ... which sparked protests and much debate over jokes many people felt were transphobic.

The potential issue at 30 Rock this week is 'SNL' now has its first nonbinary cast member, Molly Kearney, and at least one writer who is transgender.

According to Page Six, the show's writers are boycotting, but a rep for Dave tells TMZ ... Dave's first 2 meetings with the staff have been full, and everyone's pitching sketch ideas as they normally do.

One of the writers, Celeste Yim, reportedly posted an Instagram story saying, “I’m trans and non-binary. I use they/them pronouns. Transphobia is murder and it should be condemned.”

Their post said nothing about a boycott. It's unclear if Celeste has been in the staff meetings with Dave this week. We've reached out to NBC for comment.

This will be Chappelle's third time hosting. He previously hosted in 2020 and in 2016, which was memorable for being the first show after the election of Donald Trump.

Dave famously said America should give Trump a chance, but since then the comedian's admitted he was way off.

Post Malone Officiates Fans' Wedding Onstage ... I Declare You 2 Married!!!


Post Malone is going all out for his fans these days, and his latest move might take the wedding cake -- yeah, he officiated when 2 fans tied the knot on his stage!!!

It all went down after Post's Saturday show in Seattle ... 2 excited fans hopped on stage, where PM was waiting for them and started the ceremony. The women stood face-to-face, as the rapper demanded everyone's attention and then he guided them through a few brief matrimonial steps ... as the crowd cheered from the front row.

Waiting for your permission to load TikTok Post.

After the couple exchanged "I do's" Post gave 'em the green light for THE kiss. Oddly, Post declared them wedded "in the eyes of space" ... but that seemed to work just fine for all parties involved!

This ain't Post's first rodeo pulling out stunts for fans during his shows ... and it looks like he's getting a good rep for being the go-to guy for whatever fans want to pull off at one of his concerts.

TikTok / @peachyp_

You'll recall, PM did a gender reveal last month during his concert in Tulsa ... letting a couple fans know they're having a girl. As they say, the Post Malone delivers!


Although, let's hope he draws the line at an actual birth and/or bris.

Matt Barnes Against Trans Women Playing In WNBA ... 'I Don't Like That'

Matt Barnes says he's in full support of the transgender community ... but when it comes to trans athletes competing in sports, he believes "Whatever you're born, I feel like you should play in that space."

Barnes made his thoughts on the controversial topic crystal clear in an interview with VladTV ... where he was asked about the potential of trans athletes competing in the WNBA.

"I don't like that," Barnes said.

"If you're born a woman, you should play women's sports. If you're born a man, you should play men's sports. I think the sports thing is a little different."

Barnes made sure to note he is "pro-make your choice" ... but when it comes to sports, it's a completely different situation.

Barnes referred to Lia Thomas, the transgender NCAA swimming champion, whose accomplishments were questioned because she was born a male and started hormone therapy in 2019.

Lia faced backlash from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Caitlyn Jenner ... who both felt Thomas' success resulted from an unfair advantage.

Barnes echoed similar sentiments ... saying "it's a line that shouldn't be crossed."

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