Trans activists march on state capitols nationwide as cloud of Nashville Christian school shooting looms

Transgender activists this week have been occupying state capitol buildings across the country to protest legislation placing restrictions on gender transition procedures for children and the teaching of gender identity in the classroom.

The protests came the same week police identified a transgender individual as the shooter responsible for murdering six people, including three 9-year-old children, in Monday’s shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville.

A crowd of LGBTQ activists on Friday marched on the Florida Capitol after the state’s Republican-controlled House passed a bill that would restrict the way teachers and students can use preferred pronouns in schools. The legislation also bolsters the ability of concerned parents, students and others to object to instructional materials and school library books.


Demonstrators protest in support of rights for transgender youth.

The measure passed on International Transgender Day of Visibility, when several transgender marches were held nationwide. Students packed the Florida Capitol and shouted in protest, chanting “This is what democracy looks like” and called to take control of the schools.

Two days earlier in Kentucky, state police confirmed 19 people were arrested at the Capitol as large crowds gathered to protest Republican lawmakers overriding Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of legislation that bans puberty blockers, hormones and gender transition surgeries for children under 18.

The bill also bans lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation, requires trans students to use the bathroom of their biological sex and stops school districts from requiring teachers to use a student’s pronouns if they don’t align with their sex at birth.

At the same time Wednesday, hundreds of protesters descended on the Missouri Capitol after the Republican-led state Senate passed legislation barring transgender youth under 18 from receiving gender-affirming health care such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments. The state Senate also passed a bill preventing transgender students from participating on sports teams that align with their gender identity.

“We show up clearly today in love and in community, certainly, but we also show up in righteous anger and in rage,” Katy Erker-Lynch, executive director of PROMO, an LGBTQ public policy and advocacy organization, said at the protest.

A protester holds a poster calling for lawmakers to vote against House Bill 1125, which would ban gender-affirming care for trans children at the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson Feb. 15, 2023. 


Two days earlier in Texas, swaths of trans activists stormed the Capitol as the state House was debating a similar bill banning gender transition procedures for children. Protesters chanted “protect trans kids” and lay on the floor in an apparent effort to obstruct those trying to walk by.

The Texas protest occurred the same day of the Nashville shooting at The Covenant School. Police say the shooter was Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old transgender individual who was a former student at the private Christian school. Hale, who was killed after firing at responding officers, left behind a manifesto, according to authorities, who did not rule out that gender identity may have been a motivation.

On Thursday, dozens of protesters swarmed the Tennessee Capitol, demanding lawmakers take action on gun violence as they appeared to mourn Hale’s death.

“Every death is a tragedy, y’all. Seven lives,” one protester could be heard saying in footage posted to social media.

Seven people were killed in the shooting, including Hale.

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