TJA statement on the Covenant School Shooting
Today, three children and three adults were killed in a shooting at the Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, TN. 28-year old Nashville resident Audrey Hale has been identified as the shooter. Hale was killed during gunfire by police. Police said in a statement that Hale “does identify as transgender.”
No other information has been released, and it is unclear how the police came to that determination.
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 Even social media profiles can be misleading, outdated or incomplete.
We urge newsrooms to refrain from speculating without further facts. It is additionally important to keep in mind that sharing partial, un-fact-checked, or contextless information and public records during breaking news events can have outsized consequences for members of marginalized communities.