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Candace Owens says transgender surgery made Nashville shooter into monster

Conservative author and talk-show host Candace Owens has gone viral for comments she made about Nashville mass-shooter Audrey Hale.

Owens took to Twitter to give the 28-year-old’s transgender identity as the reason the shooter committed the crime.

Hale killed three adults and three children at Nashville’s Covenant School on Monday morning in Tennessee. Police confirmed that officers shot Hale dead at the scene.

The children killed in the shooting were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney—all 9 years old. The adult victims were Cynthia Peak, Mike Hill, both 61, and Katherine Koonce, 60, listed as head of the school on the Covenant website.

The Nashville shooting was the 129th mass shooting in the US in 2023, with 37 having been committed in March, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Firearms shooting is the leading cause of death for US children.

Police media told that Hale was transgender and had been assigned female at birth (AFAB). Hale identified as male, according to social-media posts where the shooter used he/him pronouns.

“When you play Frankenstein with people’s body’s parts, you can’t be surprised when they behave like monsters,” tweeted Owens in reference to Hale’s transgender identity. “A person willing to execute violence upon his/her own body will not hesitate to impart violence onto someone else’s.”

It is not known whether Hale had undergone gender-affirming surgery—procedures to align the body with the person’s gender—or had started hormone replacement therapy, which in this case would mean taking testosterone. Some transgender people undergo what is known as ‘social transition.’ This is when they present as the gender they identify with before beginning treatment, according to medical center Fenway Health.

Another conservative commentator Benny Johnson also wrote that Hale’s transgender identity was the reason the shooter undertook the attack.

Johnson tweeted: “The Colorado Springs shooter identified as non binary. The Denver shooter identified as trans. The Aberdeen shooter identified as trans. The Nashville shooter identified as trans. One thing is VERY clear: the modern trans movement is radicalizing activists into terrorists.”

While the assailants from the mass shootings Johnson referenced, which occurred between 2018 and 2023, were believed to identify as non-binary or transgender, the vast majority of mass shootings are still perpetrated by cisgendered men. This term refers to someone who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Nonprofit think tank The Violence Project found 98 percent of mass shootings were committed by cisgendered men. Of the 191 mass shooters in its database, four were women, and two of those were partnered with a male shooter at the time of committing the crime.

Owens had also tweeted earlier: “Transgenderism is a mental illness. Keep your children away from transgendered individuals and their parents.

“People that support and encourage these are monsters and should similarly be kept away from children.”

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed being transgender as a mental health issue from its list of mental disorders in 2012. The World Health Organization (WHO) followed suit in 2019, because it realized being transgender was “not actually a mental health condition. “

“It was taken out from mental-health disorders because we had a better understanding that this was not actually a mental-health condition, and leaving it there was causing stigma,” said WHO health expert Dr. Lale Say in 2019.

The APA instead replaced transgender as a disorder with gender dysphoria as it more accurately covers the mental-health challenges transgender people face. It refers to the “psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity.”

Research has also found that transgender people face higher rates of mental-health issues such as depression, anxiety and suicidal ideas than cisgendered people. This is not because they are transgender but because of societal stigma, discrimination and abuse as a result of their gender identity.

Nashville Police Chief John Drake spoke of speculation about Hale’s gender identity during a media conference on Monday evening. Drake said the shooting as a “targeted attack” and added that police had found a detailed manifesto and map of the shooting.

Drake also answered the question of whether police believed Hale’s identity had something to do with the shooting.

“We can give you that at a later time. There is some theory to that. We’re investigating all the leads,” Drake said. He added that officers are reviewing the manifesto and map related to the incident. They were continuing to investigate the motive behind the attack.

Conservative author and talk-show host Candace Owens has gone viral for comments she made about Nashville mass-shooter Audrey Hale.

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