In the wake of a horrifying mass shooting at a Nashville school, Christian nationalists and right wing media pundits are capitalizing on people's grief to broadcast their violent, transphobic beliefs.
Various members of the far-right media landscape, as well as numerous prominent social media posts, have claimed the shooting, which left six dead, was perpetrated by a trans woman who was damaged by hormone therapy, The Advocatereports. The obvious hoaxes are in part due to an announcement by Nashville police that the shooter, Audrey Hale, was trans, and early reports by right-wing outlets that Hale was a trans woman.
One social media post, which has been reposted more than 1,000 times, claimed that "social media posts indicate Samantha was a trans woman," accompanied by a photoshopped picture of controversial "comedian" Sam Hyde, whose picture has been attributed to numerous mass shootings by internet trolls in recent years.
Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, meanwhile, said that gender-affirming care was the cause of the shooter's "mental illness," and declared "everyone can stop blaming guns now." Unlike the misattributed photo, the tweet does not contain any clarification by Twitter's internal fact-checking system. At the time of publication, Rep. Greene's tweet has over 50,000 likes and 18,000 combined retweets and quote tweets.
The congresswoman also claimed that trans people were working with Antifa to enact a "Trans Day of Vengeance," which is categorically untrue. "Does everyone understand that Antifa is an organized and funded terrorist group that brings violence and terror for every cause they take up?” she wrote on Twitter.
As The Advocate reports, the hateful propaganda against trans people quickly spread to all corners of the right-wing ecosystem, with groups like "Gays Against Groomers" and pundits like Benny Johnson joining in on the circus. Their messages were in line with CPAC speaker and Daily Wire host Michael Knowles' message at an annual conference earlier this month, where he declared that "transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely – the whole preposterous ideology, at every level."
Knowles has since gone on to deny he ever made such a claim, despite video evidence, and has demanded retractions from outlets like Rolling Stone over publishing his statements.
The Covenant School shooting left six dead: three adults and three children. In the wake of the shooting, a mother (later identified as Ashbey Beasley) hijacked a Fox News broadcast outside the school to make a passionate, heartbreaking case for gun control: "Aren't you guys tired of covering this? Aren't you tired of being here to cover all of these mass shootings? I'm from Ohio Park, Illinois, my son and I survived a mass shooting over the summer." She added: "I am in Tennessee on a family vacation with my son, visiting my sister-in-law."
“How is this still happening? How are our children still dying and why are we failing them?” Beasley pleaded.
\u201c\u201cHow is this still happening? How are our children still dying and why are we failing them?\u201d\n\n\u2014 Ashbey Beasley, who says she survived the Highland Park mass shooting with her son last July 4th, makes a passionate case for gun control following The Covenant School mass shooting\u201d— The Recount (@The Recount) 1679939827
Photo via Getty/ Seth Herald