GAY global news

Right-wingers falsely blame Sunday’s megachurch shooting on a trans woman

Written by

Right-wingers are falsely claiming that a transgender woman conducted a Sunday shooting at the Houston megachurch of homophobic celebrity pastor Joel Osteen, even though local police have definitively said that she wasn’t trans.

The right-wing claims originate from reports that the 36-year-old shooter, Genesse Ivonne Moreno, also used the male alias Jeffrey Escalante in the past, The Houston Chronicle reported. Right-wingers have increasingly blamed public shootings on the “mentally ill” trans identities of the shooters.

“She utilized both male and female names but, through all of our investigation to this point — talking with individuals, interviews, documents — Houston Police Department reports she has been identified this entire time as female: she/her,” a Houston police officer said in a recent public briefing posted on X.

Stay connected to your community

Connect with the issues and events that impact your community at home and beyond by subscribing to our daily newsletter.

Two off-duty officers shot Moreno dead shortly after she entered the church with an assault rifle and a 5-year-old child who was hospitalized in critical condition after being hit by gunfire. Moreno’s rifle reportedly had a sticker that said “Palestine” on it, though police are still investigating the possible motive behind her attack. Police say she had a long record of mental illness and prior arrests dating back to 2005 that include assault, forgery, marijuana possession, theft, evading, and unlawful carrying of a weapon.

Despite police saying that the shooter wasn’t trans, far-right X accounts like anti-LGBTQ+ extremist Chaya Raichik, who goes by Libs of TikTok, have falsely told their social media followers that the shooter was trans. In the past, Raichik also misidentified the May 2022 Uvalde school shooter as trans — the shooter was not trans.

“The trans terrorist who shot up a Texas Church was mentally ill,” Raichik wrote in her misleading post. “What kind of hormones and drugs was she on? … Leftists ‘affirm’ gender dysphoria rather than treat the root cause which is mental illness.”

Far right extremist accounts like Libs of Tiktok rushed to call the shooter at Joel Osteen’s church a transgender woman. The police have just confirmed that is not the case and she was the biological mother of the child who was shot.

They won’t apologize or retract their lies.

— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_)

February 12, 2024

While Raichik’s post has been reshared nearly 1,000 times on X by the time of this article’s publication, Raichik is not a mental health expert or medical professional. Gender dysphoria is not caused by mental illness — scientists suspect it is caused by a variety of genetic, hormonal, natal, cultural, and environmental factors, according to medical experts at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Nonetheless, numerous right-wing accounts on Twitter have repeated the claim, calling Moreno a “trans terrorist” and adding “our government protects lunatics like this.” Those spreading the false claim include far-right troll Jack Posobiec, the promoter of the anti-gay #Pizzgate conspiracy theory that eventually morphed into QAnon, whose believers regularly accuse gay politicians and allies of sexually abusing kids.

Right-wing figures like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson repeatedly claimed that trans people are dangerous because they are “mentally ill.” Transphobes like them claim that trans people are mentally unstable and seek to “groom” and “sexualize” kids with “gender ideology” that will confuse and coerce children into “irreversible” medical procedures that will “mutilate” them for life. Boebert has even gone so far as to say that affirming trans people’s identities leads to school shootings.

However, the truth is that the vast majority of mass shooters in the U.S. are cisgender males. The right-wing focus on gun-toting queers and shooters’ mental illness is merely a way to stigmatize queer people while also drawing attention away from gun control regulations that could help stop mass shootings in the first place.


Leave a Comment