One of the Guys

The Nashville shooter’s gender identity has led to charges of “trans terrorism” — but the face of gun violence is almost always a cis white man.

Jude Ellison S. Doyle
5 min readMar 29

At least a hundred dark amber bottles and one white-gold bottle, which is the only one you’ll notice.
Oh, my God! A picture of a gold bottle! Photo by Will Myers on Unsplash

As I move through this life, I try to find reasons to be grateful. Even very dark times can have an upside, if you’re looking for it. For instance, the mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville — the 130th mass shooting in the United States in 2023, and the 37th mass shooting in March 2023 alone — might look like a pure tragedy. Three adults and three children were killed, so, by any rational assessment, that is what it is.

I, however, choose to see the bright side: We’ve finally figured out how to make Republicans give a shit about mass shootings.

The school shooter in Nashville, who was killed by police at the scene of the crime, was described as “female” in certain early reports. Later coverage, based largely on scouring the alleged shooter’s social media presence, identified him as a 28-year-old trans man named Aiden Bray.

There are reasons to be skeptical here: Several mass shootings have given rise to unfounded conspiracy theories about the shooter being trans. In 2016, Ted Cruz claimed that Planned Parenthood shooter Robert Lewis Dear was a “transgendered leftist activist,” based on Dear having incorrectly checked “female” instead of “male” on a voter registration form. After the 2022 school shooting in Uvalde, Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona claimed that the killer was a “transsexual leftist illegal alien named Salvatore Ramos,” which ultimately led to a random trans woman from Georgia being wrongly identified as Ramos on social media.

Jude Ellison S. Doyle

Author of “Trainwreck” (Melville House, ‘16) and “Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers” (Melville House, ‘19). Columns published far and wide across the Internet.