“Truly disturbing”: Trans Rights or Else shirts on Amazon spark outrage in wake of Nashville shooting

"Trans Rights or Else" shirts on Amazon sparked major controversy in the wake of Nashville school shooting (Image via Audrey Hale/LinkedIn and Alejandro Miguelsky/Twitter)
"Trans Rights or Else" shirts on Amazon sparked major controversy in the wake of Nashville school shooting (Image via Audrey Hale/LinkedIn and Alejandro Miguelsky/Twitter)

A collection of “Trans Rights or Else” T-shirts available for sale on Amazon sparked major outrage on social media in the wake of the Nashville school shooting. Reports suggest that the 28-year-old deceased shooter, Audrey Hale, reportedly identified as trans.

Trigger Warning: This article contains mentions of gun violence, mass shooting, and transphobia. Reader discretion is advised.

The controversial T-shirts on Amazon were mostly black in color and contained a series of multi-colored assault rifle images printed on the front alongside the phrase, “Trans Rights or Else.”

The content on the shirts triggered several people following the Nashville school shooting incident, and many took to social media to dub the clothing item as “disturbing”.

Media personality Oli London said that the message on the shirt appeared like a “clear threat of violence” and did not represent a “kind [or] inclusive movement.”

Meanwhile, some users also called out Amazon and Jeff Bezos for providing a platform to enable sales of the controversial product amid rising concerns of gun violence in America.

According to the Post Millennial, Amazon allegedly removed the controversial T-shirt collection from the platform following the online outrage.

In the wake of the Nashville shooting, cops revealed that Audrey Hale was reportedly trans. Although no details were available about their preferred pronouns or official names, reports suggest that the shooter was born female and started using he/him pronouns after coming out.

The shooter was originally named Audrey but eventually started using the name Aiden. They also signed as “Audrey (Aiden)” in a series of chilling messages sent to the suspect’s former teammate Averianna Patton just moments before the shooting.

The controversy surrounding the T-shirt came after Newsweek published an article in the wake of the shooting, calling out Tennessee lawmakers for banning drag shows for children instead of banning firearms.

Tennessee Republicans previously voted to ban drag shows for children and prohibit gender transition for individuals under the age of 18. The bill also prevents drag shows from being performed in certain areas. The law is reportedly set to go into effect on July 1.

While there is no reported equivalency between the bill, the tragic school shooting incident and the controversial t-shirt, the situation has been the subject of major online debate.


“Trans Rights or Else” T-shirts with rifle images spark controversy online

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In the wake of the tragic shooting at Nashville’s Covenant Christian School by the now-deceased 28-year-old shooter Audrey Hale, a collection of T-shirts with printed assault rifle images alongside the phrase “Trans Rights or Else” sparked major controversy online.

While it is not known if the shirts were being sold on Amazon and other online shopping sites prior to the Nashville shooting incident, the content on the clothing item amid the ongoing gun violence crisis left several people disturbed.

Many also took to Twitter to condemn the content of the T-shirt:

As criticism continued to pour in online, some users claimed that critics are focusing more on the gender identity and pronouns of the shooter than on the shooting incident and the concerns related to gun violence, irrespective of the pronouns of the perpetrator.

Others also claimed that the identity of the Nashville shooter would allow some people to justify transphobia.

Meanwhile, some also condemned Audrey Hale for shedding bad light on the community through their actions.

On March 27, Audrey Hale carried out a mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville that left six people dead. The adult victims were identified as head of school Katherine Koonce, substitute teacher Cynthia Peak, and custodian Mike Hill.

Meanwhile, the child victims were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, all nine years old. The shooter was also shot dead during an encounter with the police.

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Edited by Barsha Roy
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