Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

Politics and Pop Culture: Trans people aren’t the issue, guns are

A few weeks ago, Tennessee legislators passed a ban on drag shows in public places because they are supposedly “harmful to minors.” On Monday, March 27, a gunman took six lives at an elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, the very state in which this ban was passed. The shooter happened to be a transgender individual. Some people now believe this person who killed three children is somehow reflective of drag shows and the transgender community as a whole. 

Donald Trump Jr. claimed via Twitter that there is an “incredible rise” in transgender individuals committing mass shootings, yet there is hardly any evidence to support this. In fact, out of the 3,561 mass shootings committed since 2016, approximately 99% of them were perpetrated by a cisgender person. To make a baseless claim that specifically targets a minority community is disingenuous, but I think that was the goal. 

The only support there is to validate Trump Jr.’s claim is three other examples of mass shootings throughout the past five years in which the perpetrator was transgender or nonbinary. Among these is the 2019 shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in which there were two assailants, one transgender and one cisgender. The other examples are the 2022 Colorado Springs nightclub shooting, in which a nonbinary individual killed five people, and the Maryland Rite Aid massacre committed by a transgender person in 2018. These three instances, while tragic, are outliers that hold no weight in comparison to the number of mass shootings committed by cisgender individuals. Considering the sheer number of mass shootings America has, four of them having similar circumstances is hardly a pattern. 

The only true commonality among those who commit mass shootings is the use of a gun. Trump Jr.’s social media posts about the Nashville shooting are being read by thousands of people who are now placing blame on the transgender community. It is taking away from the actual issue at hand, which is gun violence. 

It’s also important to note that many of the people who are speaking up about the shooting, Trump Jr. being one of them, did not speak up on Feb. 13 after the shooting at Michigan State University. I can’t help but wonder if they actually care about ending gun violence, or if they are just looking for a reason to condemn transgender people. In fact, last month, many Republican members of Congress were photographed wearing AR-15 lapel pins on their shirts, which is an interesting choice considering the AR-15 is an extremely common weapon of choice among mass shooters. 

Following what happened in Nashville, these members of Congress are rightfully being criticized for their decision to wear these pins, but it doesn’t take away from the message it gave to the public: they don’t actually care about ending gun violence. 

It’s crazy to me that lawmakers in Tennessee are so focused on banning drag shows when the obvious threat to their children is guns. In the past 20 years, more than 30,000 children under the age of 18 have died from gun violence. In the past 20 years, zero children have died from drag shows. Considering Tennessee is the state with the 12th highest rate of preventable gun deaths in the U.S., I think their main focus should be lowering that number rather than banning something completely harmless and hurting a minority community in the process. 

Brianna Tassiello is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the opinions expressed in this article do not represent those of The Post. Want to talk to Brianna? Email her at

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH