An organization that supports and advocates for transgender journalists suggested Monday that publications not assume the gender of the Nashville shooter.
The Transgender Journalists Association (TJA) released a statement on Monday claiming that there hasn’t been enough evidence to support the assertion that the Audrey Hale is in fact transgender. The TJA states that it is “unclear” how the police came to that conclusion and that newsrooms should ignore the police’s official statement on the shooter’s gender. (RELATED: Bodycam Footage Shows Nashville Cops Taking Out Trans Shooter)
“The TJA’s guidance is to not assume someone is cisgender or transgender based on their appearance, gender presentation, or pronouns. Police reports, public documents, or statements from family members can likewise incorrectly identify a person’s gender. Even social media profiles can be misleading, outdated or incomplete” The TJA wrote.
The organization suggests that newsrooms not report that Hale is transgender until more facts are known, as doing so without enough evidence would cause “outsized consequences” for the transgender community.
Our statement on the shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, TN: https://t.co/QPja7RNGTs
— Trans Journalists Association (@TransJA) March 27, 2023
Newsrooms across the country, including The New York Times and USA Today, have scrambled to apologize for characterizing the shooter as female after it was revealed that the shooter identifies as transgender.
“Police on Monday afternoon said that the shooter was a transgender man,” USA Today tweeted, correcting Nashville officials on the shooter’s gender identity. “Officials had initially misidentified the gender of the shooter.”
The New York Times also issued a correction to their previous articles which described Audrey Hale as a female.
“There was confusion later on Monday about the gender identity of the assailant in the Nashville shooting,” The New York Times wrote. “Officials had used ‘she’ and ‘her’ to refer to the suspect, who, according to a social media post and a LinkedIn profile, appeared to identify as a man in recent months.”