On March 27, a 28-year-old armed woman walked into a Presbyterian primary school in Nashville, Tennessee, and shot three children and three adults to death before being gunned down by police. The murderer was initially identified as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, but later the same day, having discovered that she considered herself to be a transgender male, local officials began referring to her by her last known name of choice, Aiden Hale.
Thirteen days later, on April 9 (Easter Sunday), a Portland, Oregon, cab driver named Reese McDowell Lawhon was stabbed to death in the neck by a passenger who had stepped into his cab wearing a tiara. As the Portland-based independent journalist Andy Ngo noted, the police made an arrest but, unusually, waited a day before releasing any information about the suspect. After the killer’s name, Moses Jacob Lopez, was finally made public, Ngo discovered online that Lopez, a mere six days earlier, had been “arrested and charged with felonies” in Coos Bay, Oregon, “for allegedly threatening a…shopper with a knife,” but had been “quickly released without bail.”
Ngo also discovered that Lopez, age 30, identifies as a transgender woman.
Ngo’s reporting on Antifa and BLM riots made him nationally famous for his courage, rectitude, and journalistic prowess – and for the nearly fatal wounds he sustained. He’s seen more than his share of violence. But he said that a video of the murder of Reese McDowell Lawhon – which, at this writing, has yet to be made public – was the “most disturbing and gruesome video I have seen.”
These aren’t isolated cases. A sampling: in September 2018, a man named Snochia Moseley, who was taking female hormones at the time, took four lives in Aberdeen, Maryland. Likewise, Devon Erickson was undergoing a transition from male to female when he and an accomplice killed one student and injured eight at a school near Denver in May 2019. Anderson Lee Aldrich, who last November killed five people and injured 25 at a Colorado Springs nightclub, Club Q, identifies as non-binary. Douglas Perry, a.k.a. Donna Perry, killed three women in Washington State before undergoing “gender-reassignment” surgery in 2000. Brooklyn octogenarian Harvey Marcelin was already a double murderer under his birth name when, last year, now identifying as a trans woman, he took a third victim. In Scotland, Daniel Eastwood strangled a man to death before transitioning in 2017; he now identifies not as a woman but (no kidding) as a baby.
This past Sunday, the Epoch Times reported on a Ashlee Renczkowski, a middle-school teacher in Florida who’s undergoing a male-to-female transition and who’d spoken about “shooting students” and then committing suicide. Not until Florida officials intervened was Renczkowski removed from his job.
Is anyone surprised by the phenomenon of transgender homicide? Look at any transgender protest event nowadays and you’ll witness a level of hysteria that you rarely will find at any other kind of gathering. The difference from a couple of decades ago is striking. Back then, there was no such thing as a transgender protest. Transsexuals – as they were called – were vanishingly few. Almost all of them kept a very low profile. They weren’t looking for attention. It wasn’t trendy to be a tranny – in fact, it could be very dangerous – and those who actually got up every day and dressed up like members of the opposite sex were the real thing. Which is to say that they actually had gender dysphoria: they believed, as surely as skeletal anorexics believe they’re fat, that they’d been born into the wrong bodies. Although many of their nearest and dearest, out of politeness, went along with their self-identification, nobody who knew the first thing about biology believed that anyone really could change sex.
Today the number of people claiming to be transgender has skyrocketed. Not because gender dysphoria has become transmissible, but because trans is the cool new youth trend, because young gays are being told that they’re really trans, and because trans is a useful label for middle-aged weirdos. Real transsexuals used to live on the margins: feeling excluded, indeed, was part of the deal. Today it’s the opposite. If you’re an insecure teen who wants attention, approval, and an instant new set of friends, you need only announce that you’re transgender. And if you’re a middle-aged man with psychiatric problems of the sort that incline you to behave quirkily, dress freakishly, and shout at strangers in the subway, putting on a frock and calling yourself Suzy turns your howling from a sign of severe mental illness into a mark of activist heroism.
In Britain, there’s a very brave woman named Kellie-Jay Keen who’s made a cause out of challenging the transgender madness – in particular, of defending biological women from men who, claiming to be “trans women,” have invaded female spaces and elbowed their way into women’s sports. For a couple of years now, Keen has been holding “Let Women Speak” events in parks and other public spaces around the U.K. at which women are handed a microphone and invited to have their say, for three or four minutes, about transgenderism. “Trans activists” invariably show up. Often, some of them brandish signs calling for “compassion” and “kindness.” But do they model compassion and kindness themselves? Never.
As Keen wrote recently at the Spectator: “They gather in menacing groups to intimidate us and hurt us if they can, just to prevent us speaking a simple truth: that women don’t have penises, men don’t have vaginas, there is no such thing as non-binary and transitioning children is abuse.” After watching a video of a “Let Women Speak” event in Brighton last September, J.K. Rowling tweeted: “I see the Be Kind brigade are once more hiding behind their black masks, throwing smoke bombs, screaming ‘scum’ at women speaking up for their sex-based rights and howling abuse at lesbians for not doing dick.” But it was Keen who got in trouble with the Brighton police, who threatened to arrest her for speaking unacceptable truths about the outrageous claims of transgender ideology.
Last year Keen toured the U.S. Multiple threats of violence forced her to cancel her Portland event. In Tacoma, a participant was injured. In Washington, D.C., pro-trans protesters played loud sirens to drown out Keen’s speakers and shouted angrily into bullhorns. And at the final U.S. event outside City Hall in New York, reported the Postmillennial, protesters “screamed that the women were fascists and Nazis for their belief that biological sex is real.” There were violent assaults and several arrests; Keen herself was prevented from getting to the front of the crowd.
A few weeks ago, Keen took “Let Women Speak” to Australia and New Zealand. There were protests everywhere. “The Tasmanian event,” she wrote afterward, “was pretty horrifying. The women who spoke were visibly terrified and an angry mob drowned out their voices with hysterical screams and cult-like mantras.” But the worst happened on March 25 in Auckland, where a mob of “trans activists” surrounded Keen, “screeching and grabbing.” A man, she wrote, “tipped tomato soup all over my head.” Then a “frenzy grew until it was a deafening swell….Men started ripping down the barriers and charging forward.” Security officers and volunteers helped Keen escape the mob. There had been no police protection, but now “the police did step in and helped get me to a car.” Each of the police officers she met told her “that had I fallen I would have been killed.”
There were no arrests.
Then there’s what happened to Riley Gaines on April 13. Gaines, a swimmer on the women’s team at the University of Kentucky, went to San Francisco State University to give a talk criticizing the intrusion of “trans women” into women’s sports, and ended up, in her own words, being “ambushed by a mob” of screaming trans activists who pushed her into a classroom in which she barricaded herself for three hours. How did SFSU administrators respond? By praising the activists as “peaceful” and “brave.” Speaking on GB News about the experience, Gaines said that “of course they resort to violence, because they don’t have science on their side, they don’t have reason, they don’t have common sense.”
The kind of over-the-top, inhuman fury that Keen and Gaines experienced can, as noted, be observed wherever trans activists gather to protest. Their rhetoric is often borrowed from the civil-rights movement, but these people would never be mistaken for disciples of Martin Luther King, Jr. At their demonstrations, there’s never anything remotely resembling a display of quiet dignity or a sane, measured speech appealing to common humanity. No, it’s always wall-to-wall frenzy, utterly unhinged nuttiness, like something you’d see in a closed ward at a psychiatric hospital.
And the rhetoric is always over the top. Dare to question, say, the appropriateness of allowing biological men to use women’s locker rooms, or of incarcerating biological men in women’s prisons, or of administering puberty blockers to pre-teens, and you’ll be called a hater and a bigot and accused of killing trans people, no less. Every time Keen and a few dozen other women gather in a park or square to give voice to their thoroughly sensible concerns about the transgender movement, trans activists will contend that they’re being subjected to the cruelest and most terrible kinds of violence – and will, with unsettling frequency, respond with real violence.
On April 1, a coalition of American pro-trans groups planned to hold a “Transgender Day of Vengeance.” Vengeance for what? The organizers cited the newly passed laws in several states banning Drag Queen Story Hours, denying so-called “gender-affirming care” for minors, and compelling people to use only the rest rooms designated for their biological sex. These laws, an article in Buzzfeed contended, threaten “trans people’s ability to exist openly in public” and limit their “participation in society at large.” Absurd. So, again, vengeance for what? For the fact that every major institution in America has bent over backwards, in recent years, to make self-identified trans people feel not only comfortable but celebrated?
As it happens, the “Day of Vengeance” was canceled – wisely – after the mass murder in Nashville.
Of course, it’s not at all unreasonable for understandably perplexed and concerned citizens to raise questions about transgenderism. On the contrary, whenever a civil-rights movement has come along in the past and made its demands, those demands became, quite properly, the subject of widespread public discussion and debate. The debates often went on for many years. (I know, because I was a very active part of the debate for gay rights.) The so-called “trans rights” movement was somehow permitted to skip that step entirely. For the first time ever, Americans in positions of authority – legislators, clerics, CEOs, military leaders, school and university administrators, etc. – granted a self-styled civil-rights movement absolutely everything it asked without the general public being given a chance to speak up.
And when ordinary men and women have, nonetheless, tried to exercise their right to speak up – as at Kellie-Jay Keen’s events – they’ve been met, as we’ve seen, with overblown, disproportionate, well-nigh cartoonish rage.
Why so much rage? Some observers have suggested that hormone treatments cause self-identified transgender people’s emotions to dial up to eleven. Maybe. Nor does it help that people who write and preach about transgenderism have encouraged trans people to dial it up. I’m gay, but never in my life heard of “gay rage” as a thing. Black rage? Female rage? No. No. But Trans rage? It’s all the rage. And has been, it turns out, for a while now.
As long ago as 1994, Susan Stryker, a “trans woman” who founded the Transgender Studies Initiative at the University of Arizona in 2015, wrote about how she and other trans radicals had discussed at length “how to harness the intense emotions emanating from transsexual experience – especially rage – and mobilize them into effective political actions.” An article in a 2020 book published by Oxford University Press referred to “the righteous rage of trans existence.” In 2021, Teen Vogue – a silly girls’ rag turned far-left agitprop outlet – ran a piece by Charlie Jane Anders complaining about the “policing” of “trans rage.” Trans rage, Anders insisted, is justified: “Imagine being addressed with the wrong name or pronoun all the time.” Oh, the horror! Anders quoted several trans-identified teens who frequently explode, or want to, and who feel under pressure not to. They say they’re angry because of transphobia. But are they?
It goes on. In a 2018 contribution to the feminist journal Hypatia, Hilary Malatino sought to counter “hegemonic understandings of rage as a deleterious emotion” by arguing that rage “is integral to trans survival and flourishing.” In an article published last November, an M-to-F known as Carrie Marshall wrote that when he contemplates his “fiftieth birthday as a human, but only my sixth birthday as me,” he’s “overwhelmed…with trans rage”; although women are “not supposed to” get angry, he added, “in the real world, women have no shortage of things to be deeply, righteously, incandescently fucking furious about. Including if they’re trans. Especially if they’re trans.”
No sale. Life’s tough for everybody. My own sense is that trans rage is rooted in the fact that these people don’t really believe their own slogans. Who could? Trans women are women? No, they’re not. And if they’re constantly demanding that we concur with such extraordinary claims, I submit that it’s nothing more than a sign of profound insecurity. After all, if these men really did think they were women (or vice-versa), other people’s opinions wouldn’t matter so much.
It’s interesting. Back when transsexuals were just a tiny percentage of the population, and were looked upon as scum, they were content to be left alone to live their lives as they wished. Now, when an unprecedented number of people say that they’re trans, and are widely treated as if they’d cured cancer, they don’t just insist that we give them attention, affirmation, and approval; they want to compel us to change our understanding of basic biology – and basic grammar. But of course most of them aren’t really trans at all; they’re unstable adults dressing up their deep-seated psychiatric disturbances with a trendy label, or grown men with a fetish, or confused kids jumping onto a bandwagon (or being pushed onto it by a “therapist”). Far from resolving anything for them, embracing the trans label – which means embracing propositions about personal identity in which no sane person can truly believe – only intensifies their confusion, their instability, their frustration, and, yes, their rage. And the result is – well – a rather sizable minority that represents a clear and present danger, not just to mental health, but to public order and safety.
And, as the murders in Nashville and Portland demonstrate, to innocent lives.