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Right-wingers spew misinformation while blaming nonbinary teen for Iowa school shooting

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Transphobic billionaire Elon Musk, anti-LGBTQ+ activist Chaya Raichik, and other right-wingers are spreading misinformation about recent mass shooters identifying as LGBTQ+. Their viral misinformation has circulated among unconfirmed claims that the teen gunman who attacked an Iowa school on Thursday morning also identified with the queer community.

The shooter, identified as 17-year-old Dylan Butler, attacked Iowa’s Perry High School on Thursday morning, injuring four students and an adult administrator, and killing a sixth-grader and himself. Anti-trans media figure Collin Rugg wrote on his X account that Butler had a Pride flag and he/they pronouns in the bio of their now-defunct TikTok account and may have identified as gender fluid or transgender, based on their past social media activity.

Police officials haven’t confirmed Butler’s LGBTQ+ identity, but right-wing accounts on X have reposted Rugg’s claim over 450 times. Raichik, who goes by Libs of TikTok on X, repeated Rugg’s claim, calling Butler a “trans genderfluid te*ror*st” and adding, “Trans extremists are a serious threat.”

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NEW: Officials have identified 17-year-old Dylan Butler as the student who carried out the shooting at Perry High School in Iowa.

Butler was reportedly an LGBTQ student who identified with the pronouns ‘he/they’ and ‘gender fluid.’

Butler appeared to interact with transgender…

— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg)

January 4, 2024

And today we have another one to add to the list! What’s going on?

— Chaya Raichik (@ChayaRaichik10)

January 4, 2024

Raichik also posted an image with misinformation on Thursday morning, claiming that five recent school shooters have identified as nonbinary or trans. Her image claimed that the 2022 Uvalde, Texas school shooter was trans — they were not, and the supposed shooter posing with a trans flag in Raichik’s image wasn’t the actual shooter, The Advocate reported.

Additionally, while Anderson Lee Aldrich, the shooter behind the 2022 attack on Club Q gay bar in Colorado Springs, identified as nonbinary, experts widely suspect that Aldrich only did this to troll the LGBTQ+ community.

Musk boosted Raichik’s misinformed image, writing “!!”.


— Elon Musk (@elonmusk)

January 4, 2024

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.


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