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Nashville: Right-wing media linking trans people and mass shootings rely on hysteria
Explainer Transgender

Nashville: Right-wing media linking trans people and mass shootings rely on hysteria

Jamie Wareham
Jamie Wareham
Jamie Wareham, he/him, gay queer disabled - A note from me:
TL;DR: Despite only 2% of mass shootings being perpetrated by trans people in the last 40 years, right wing pundits have been using the Nashville school shooting to try and suggest it was an act of 'trans terrorism'.

On Monday, Audrey Hale, a transgender man, killed six people at a private Evangelical Presbyterian school in Nashville, Tennessee.

It's a heinous crime. But in the wake of it, instead of focusing on gun laws, Republicans and right-wing media have zeroed in on the shooter's gender identity.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson called the attack "the rise of trans terrorism." But if you look at the data, there is little evidence of a link between mass shootings and gender identity.

Nashville shooting: What happened?

Audrey Hale killed six people. He bought seven guns legally and hid them at home. Tennessee has no laws that allow police to seize guns from violent suspects - BBC

Hale was armed with two “assault-type” rifles and a handgun. He was shot and killed by police during the incident - Vox

Three of the victims were children aged just nine. There were also three adults who were murdered, all staff at the school.

Hale is a former student of the school and was under "doctor's care for an emotional disorder", police say - Sky News

Based on Mother Jones's open-source track of mass shootings, of 141 mass shootings over four decades, only three were perpetrated by a trans or nonbinary person.

That's around 2% of shooters. Less than 3.9% of the US population are estimated to be transgender - National Library of Medicine

134 of the 141 mass shootings were carried out by men with no known history of identifying as trans or nonbinary - Mother Jones

Mother Jones defines mass shootings as incidents of gun violence in which four or more victims are killed. A broader look at gun violence across the last four years, which have seen 2,829 recorded attacks, shows that only three were perpetrated by someone with a gender diverse background - SocDoneLeft/Gun Violence Archive

Despite this, many right-wing pundits have been creating hysteria about the shooter's gender identity. One blamed gender-affirming care for the school shooting - The Independent

With so much focus on Hale's identity, trans people have been speaking about how they fear the mass shooting could fuel the increasing wave of transphobia in the US - Sky News

Hate crimes are rising. Trans people are much more likely to be the victim of crime than to perpetrate it. Transphobia in the press grows daily.

As with many stories clumsily framed around identity, the media and right-wing focus on the shooter's gender identity is simply a distraction from the real issue: America's persistently high rate of gun violence.

Children and teens are now more likely to be killed by gun violence than car accidents in the US - CNN

And as Skylar Baker-Jordan sets out for The Independent:

"Rather than being a moment for the right to misrepresent the facts, this should be a moment for the right to take a deep breath and a good long hard look in the mirror. None of us should want to live in a country where political violence is a regular occurrence."

Jamie Wareham, he/him, gay queer disabled - A note from me:

‌It can be frustrating to keep up with the mainstream press. It’s arduous having to call them out on their transphobia and queerphobia constantly - but it is critical work, and I can assure you - we're up to the task.

We don’t do it to pick a fight. We don’t do it to try and drive clicks for ad revenue. We don't do it to capitalise on anti-trans hate.

We do it because there aren’t enough queer voices advocating for queer people in mainstream media spaces.

In fact, all funds we get go directly to queer creatives who want to counter that narrative.

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