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A police statement Monday indicated the shooter who attacked a Nashville school was transgender.
Republicans including JD Vance and Marjorie Taylor Greene are linking that detail to the attack.
There's no evidence to suggest that identifying as transgender is predictive of violence.
Following a deadly shooting at an elementary school in Tennessee, some prominent Republicans are highlighting evidence that the perpetrator was transgender — and suggesting that gender identity played a role in causing the violence.
Details continue to emerge about the shooting, but there is no evidence to suggest that identifying as transgender leads to a propensity for inflicting violence.
Authorities said the attacker on Monday morning killed three elementary-school students and three adult staff members at The Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, before being killed by responding police officers.
Authorities initially identified the attacker as a 28-year-old woman who was a former student at the school, but the Nashville police chief later told reporters on Monday afternoon that the perpetrator identified as transgender.
On Tuesday, in a statement to Insider, the Nashville police issued another statement saying they had seen the attacker use male pronouns on social media but had not confirmed the person's gender identity.
"Was this individual transitioning to a male? We don't know. We aren't aware of the shooters intentions in terms of gender identity," a Metro Nashville Police Department representative said. "The term may have been used prematurely."
—Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) March 27, 2023
But as details of the shooter's identity began to emerge, some prominent Republican elected officials zeroed in on the prospect that the assailant was trans.
Republican Sen. JD Vance of Ohio wrote on Twitter that there "needs to be a lot of soul searching on the extreme left" following the shooting and that "giving in to these ideas isn't compassion, it's dangerous."
In a brief interview with Insider at the Capitol on Tuesday, Vance expanded on his remarks, blaming rhetoric used by some activists for causing the violence.
"If you tell transgender people that they're being genocided, it is expected that some people will take violent means as a response," Vance said. "We recognize that when we're talking about white supremacists or any other ideological group. There's a broad recognition in this country that when you tell people that they're being violently destroyed, that sometimes people take violent measures in response."
Vance went on to invoke recent debates over children's education, speculating that rhetoric around legislation seeking to ban some books from school libraries may have also led to the violence.
"I think that we should all tone down the rhetoric a little bit, and stop telling trans people they're being genocided because parents don't want pornographic materials in school libraries," Vance said.
—J.D. Vance (@JDVance1) March 27, 2023
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, on the other hand, speculated without evidence that Hale had a mental illness.
"How much hormones like testosterone and medications for mental illness was the transgender Nashville school shooter taking?" Greene wrote on Twitter. "Everyone can stop blaming guns now."
—Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) March 27, 2023
"Our trans youth are troubled," Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee told Fox News in a statement. "If they don't get the help they need they can grow up to have some serious issues, but I obviously don't believe they'll all grow up to be shooters like this."
And Vivek Ramaswamy, a 2024 GOP presidential candidate who's made combatting "wokeism" the centerpiece of his campaign, issued a statement on the shooting declaring that identifying as transgender "more often than not" is a "sign and a symptom that they are suffering from a mental illness."
The Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ-rights organization, noted in a statement about the shooting on Monday that transgender and nonbinary people were "much more likely to be the victims of violence, rather than the perpetrator of it."
—Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) March 27, 2023
In a statement to Insider, the National Center for Transgender Equality called for new restrictions on guns while noting that dozens of mass shootings have already occurred this year.
"Regardless of the perpetrator's identity, it is important to understand that one person's actions do not reflect an entire community," the organization said. "Statistically, we know that transgender and non-binary people are far more likely to be the victims of violence, rather than perpetrators."
Becca Cohen contributed reporting.
Read the original article on Business Insider