Well, after coming out as a trans man to friends and family, and making comics for the LGBTQ (and especially trans) community since 2013 – I guess I have to talk about the Nashville shooting.
It’s been all over the news, but for those who don’t know: as of this writing, a couple of days ago, a mass shooter went into a church and killed 3 adults and 3 children. The shooter was a trans person.
And I feel the need to comment on this because there has been a wave of anti-trans legislation across the United States at the state level. Hell, here in Ohio, there was a neo-Nazi branch that recently terrorized a drag show in broad daylight.
And after doom scrolling on Twitter to see other people’s hot takes, I feel like I have to write this because there’s more nuance than people want to talk about. So I’m going to talk about it. We’re going to break this down point by point.
Empathy is Not Endorsement.
First of all, mass shooters are highly motivated. They do what they do because they are driven by a particular goal. And the goal of this shooter was to target a church.
Speaking for myself: I get it. I get why this person would do the shooting. Religious and spiritual abuse is very much a thing, and I’ve known too many people who fly the rainbow flag and have been terrorized by abusers under the guise of religion. I mean, in the last week there were church attendees who chucked Molotov cocktails at a drag queen storytime. Religious abusers will absolutely target LGBTQ people just for who they are.
So, I get it. I get why the shooter did what they did. But I do not endorse it.
There are other ways to fight against bigots and religious abusers. But shooting children is not the way to go about it.
Adults? I mean, they’re often set in their ways. It can be hard to convince a religious adult to see the humanity of a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or especially transgender person. They have to put in the work, which most people are not willing to do. Should they be shot over it? On a battlefield, maybe. But not in a church.
Children? Children can learn to be better than the adults who raise them. If given the chance. The children shot at Nashville were not given that chance, and will never be given that chance. And that hurts.
“All trans people are terrorists and this proves it.”
What a broad generalization made because of one person. What about the fact that over 2000 mass shootings in the last year were done by cisgender, straight, white men? Are all white men mass shooters? Where’s the legislation saying that straight white men are not allowed to own guns? Oh right. There isn’t any.
This is an instance NOT of queer terrorism, but of The Exception That Proves the Rule. Mass shooters are all zealots of a particular idea, regardless of gender identity. And all of them are enabled by the NRA. This leads to my next point.
But what about the guns?
I fully expect a wave of legislation to hit the local and state level to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people owning guns. It’s the same reaction Reagan and his ilk had when the Black Panthers organized.
But there was no legislation proposed when the 2000+ cis-straight white men committed mass murder. There’s something to be said about the idea that owning a gun is a “god-given right” but only to rich white men. But I’m bringing up the guns because the NRA and the people who support them want the general public to be desensitized to gun violence.
These lobbyists want gun violence to be pervasive so they can push the idea that “there’s only one way to protect yourself from gun violence, and that’s with a gun.”
Which. No. The best way to end gun violence is to nip it in the bud and eliminate the guns.
“But what about the second amendment?!” says every libertarian who doesn’t know how to wipe his own ass.
The Constitution when it was written also made it legal to own slaves and protect the rights of the enslavers, and – for a short while, anyway – banned alcohol. The Constitution also had amendments saying that certain “races” were not allowed to vote until later amendments overruled them. The Constitution is an imperfect document that has to be revised CONSTANTLY in order to work as times change.
In the centuries that the Constitution has been around, I’m surprised there haven’t been any Amendments to address this fact: the second amendment was written for forming militias to stamp down slave revolts. It’s almost like the United States being founded by slave owners is something rooted in the very foundations of this nation. Weird.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in the coming weeks. But a lot of it is not going to be good for anyone, especially trans people.
To that end, here are some resources I want to share. Stick around: after the resources, I’m making an announcement.
This TikTok mentions the following crisis lines that are geared towards LGBTQ and especially trans people. Because they talk really fast, here are the resources typed out for you:
Trans Lifeline – 877-565-8860. Run by trans people, for trans people. They will not call protective services without your consent.
The Trevor Project 866-488-7386 or text START to 678-678. This organization is specifically geared towards suicide prevention for LGBTQ+ youth. They’re not a substitute for a therapist, but they’re there for young people who need help.
LGBT National Hotline 888-843-4654
Black Line 800-604-5841. This is run by BIPOC people for BIPOC people. Like the Trans Lifeline, they will not call the police or protective services without your consent.
LGBT National Youth Talk Line 800-246-7743.
Thrive Lifeline 313-662-8209. This is a trans-led lifeline.
There is also this Emergency Resource list from TransOhio.
To all my trans folks out there – you are not a burden. There are people who will want to paint you as a monster. You are not a monster. You are worthy and deserve good things. More people (like me) want you to stick around because they care about you. So stick around.
To this end, I’m walking back an announcement from my last blog post.
My online shop will stay open through the weekend. And 15% of all sales – online and at RathaCon – will go towards TransOhio, Ohio’s only transgender-led organization providing advocacy, services, education, and support for trans folks.
If you prefer to support an organization in a different state, here’s a page with each state and the major LGBTQ organization within each state. Just be sure to do your research. There is also this list of trans rights organizations that could use support. Again, do your research.
And (this is unusual for me, but I feel the need to share this) – if you are a Christian, here is an article about one church that did the hard work of LGBTQ inclusion, the concerns that surfaced, and how the church addressed them. I want to share this because a lot of terrorist acts committed against LGBTQ+ people right now are being perpetrated by “people of faith.” I’m calling on you to set a more positive example. Healing can only be done when all parties put in the hard work.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Please share this with the folks whom you think need this.
Thanks for sticking around.
You. Are. Awesome.