JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Since the tragic mass shooting on March 27 at The Covenant School in Nashville, more details on the shooter have come to light.
The shooter, 28-year-old Audrey Hale identified as transgender.
Now, members of the LGBTQ+ community say that hate directed towards them has increased across the country and here in Eastern North Carolina. Kelly Kantz of Jacksonville said her son is gay and she is an ally to the community.
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“When things like this happen, I mean, it’s just like, you get punched in your stomach, it was horrific,” said Kantz. “All of a sudden, they turned it into, they have an agenda to shoot up schools.”
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Tennessee officials said Hale used he/him pronouns on social media, and those officials said Hale was assigned female at birth. But the reason for the shooting is still under investigation.
“We don’t know a motive. We don’t know if something spurred this person to take this attack. But what doesn’t matter is the gender,” said Kantz.
According to The Violence Project’s database on mass shootings, since 1966 over 172 mass shootings studied were all conducted by men, with the exception of four. Numbers show LGTBQ+ people are more likely to be subjected to gun violence.
“The guns are the issue, and the LGBTQ community are victims, not perpetrators. The crime statistics of an LGBTQ person committing murder or a mass shooting are not even measurable on this scale,” said Kantz.
With Hale’s gender identity is a talking point in the investigation, those within the LGBTQ+ community have faced scrutiny since, even in Eastern North Carolina.
“Since the Nashville shooting, they have gotten threats and harassment, phone calls, people driving by the house,” said Kantz. “I have a friend that had a brick thrown through their window that has four kids in the house, you know, what kind of place are we living in?”
Friday was International Transgender Day of Visibility, dedicated to raising awareness of the discrimination they face.