- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 30, 2023

Organizers of a “Trans Day of Vengeance” protest are being pilloried in the wake of this week’s deadly Christian school shooting, accused of startling callousness as the increasingly aggressive tone of activists threatens to upend the narrative that they are victims, not victimizers.

The transgender movement found itself on the defensive over the Trans Radical Activist Network’s decision to go ahead with the ominous-sounding rally less than a week after three children and three adults were killed in Nashville, Tennessee, by a female shooter who identified as male.

The planned protest outside the Supreme Court was scheduled well before the shooting, but the confluence of events stoked concerns about the increasingly inflammatory language of left-wing social movements generally and transgenderism in particular.

The Trans Radical Activist Network later posted a notice on TikTok announcing that the rally scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday had been canceled over what they describe as a “credible threat to life and safety” and would be replaced by an online event to be held at 2 p.m. Saturday. 

“In recent weeks, there has been an alarming increase in dangerous rhetoric coming from transgender activists,” said Terry Schilling, president of the conservative American Principles Project. “Naturally, the left-wing media has mostly downplayed or ignored it, illustrating once again their blatant corruption. But after the tragedy in Nashville, it can no longer be waved away.”

Conservative pundit Matt Walsh, who is outspoken about his anti-transgender views, canceled a speech at Washington and Lee University in Virginia on Thursday.

“Due to threats against my family and other serious security concerns in Nashville this week, I cannot leave my family and fly to another state,” Mr. Walsh, a Nashville resident, said in a Twitter thread.

Activists routinely refer to their critics as “fascists” who want to “take away our right to exist” by, for example, banning minors from accessing gender transition surgeries and drugs. They warn that such restrictions would cause more transgender people to kill themselves.

Violent threats and imagery are also on the rise. Josselyn Berry resigned as press secretary for Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs on Wednesday after an outcry over her tweet of a gun-toting woman with the caption: “Us when we see transphobes.”

Posts of transgender people wielding rifles made the rounds on social media after Monday’s shooting, as did a promotion for a March 7 fundraiser to benefit “firearm/self defense training for trans Virginians” by the network’s Virginia chapter. The group has since locked its Twitter account.

“Hyperbolic accusations of ‘genocide’ and calls for a ‘Day of Vengeance’ are, at best, deeply irresponsible messages, especially considering they are targeted at vulnerable people already in mental distress,” Mr. Schilling said. “Leftist activists need to step back from this overheated language now, before something even worse happens.”

The Trans Radical Activist Network defended the decision to hold the “Day of Vengeance” rally, which was originally scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday outside the Supreme Court. Other groups sponsoring the event include Our Rights DC and RVA Feminism. RVA stands for Richmond, Virginia.

The network said it was “horrified” by the Nashville shooting and grieves for the victims, but it insisted that its protest was intended to counter “suffocating legislation,” not to foment violence.

“We also reject any connection between that horrific event and ours,” the network’s statement said. “Vengeance means fighting back with vehemence. We are fighting against false narratives, criminalization and eradication of our existence.”

The group called for allies to “stand up and fight with us to bring down the forces that try to subjugate us all.”

Not persuaded was Twitter, which blocked more than 5,000 tweets regarding “Trans Day of Vengeance” over concerns about inciting violence. That annoyed conservatives such as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican who had retweeted the notices as a warning.

“My Congressional account was suspended for 7 days for exposing Antifa, who are organizing a call for violence called ‘Trans Day of Vengeance,’” Ms. Greene tweeted.

Ella Irwin, Twitter’s chief of trust and safety, defended the decision to scrub the posts while acknowledging “a valid debate about whether we should/shouldn’t remove incitement related media.”

“We do not support tweets that incite violence irrespective of who posts them,” she said in a Tuesday tweet. “‘Vengeance’ does not imply peaceful protest. Organizing or support for peaceful protests is ok.”

Evan Greer, director of the net neutrality group Fight for the Future, said Twitter’s actions are “the latest example of Big Tech companies employing double standards in content moderation.”

“They are slow to moderate content targeting trans people, but quick to silence us when we speak out or push back,” Evan Greer told The Associated Press. “‘Trans Day of Vengeance’ is not a specific day or a call for violence. It’s a meme that’s been around for years, a way of expressing anger and frustration about oppression and violence the trans community faces daily.”

The name represents a rebrand on International Transgender Day of Visibility, held every year on March 31 since 2009 to “celebrate trans and non-binary people and raise awareness of discrimination faced by trans people worldwide,” the LGBT Foundation said.

The poster for the rally says: “We Need More Than Visibility” and “Stop Trans Genocide.”

President Biden issued a proclamation Thursday in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility portraying transgender Americans as the victims of “hateful state laws.”

“But today, too many transgender Americans are still denied those rights and freedoms,” Mr. Biden said. “A wave of discriminatory state laws is targeting transgender youth, terrifying families and hurting kids who are not hurting anyone.”

The Nashville shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale, had identified as male and used the name Aiden Hale for several months, although it is unknown whether Hale had used cross-sex hormones.

Female mass shooters are rare, but those who identify as the opposite sex or nonbinary are becoming more visible.

Anderson Lee Aldrich, the suspect in the November shooting at the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs that left five dead, identifies as nonbinary and uses the “Mx.” honorific, according to court filings.

Devon Erickson, now serving life in prison for killing student Kendrick Castillo in the 2019 shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, was mocked by classmates for being transgender, according to attorneys.

Snochia Moseley, who committed suicide after killing four people in 2018 at a Rite Aid in Aberdeen, Maryland, reportedly suffered from mental health issues and identified as transgender.

“One thing is VERY clear: the modern trans movement is radicalizing activists into terrorists,” tweeted conservative pundit Benny Johnson, prompting Twitter CEO Elon Musk to reply: “!”

Columbia University lecturer Anthony Zenkus responded that such shooters are still vastly outnumbered by “cis gendered” assailants.

“4 shooters out of over 300 mass shooters since 2009 are transgender or non binary,” tweeted Mr. Zenkus, whose bio lists him as an organizer with Occupy Wall Street. “That’s just 1.3% of all shooters. You just proved our point: 99% of mass shooters in the United States are cis gendered. Thank you, hater.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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