Transgender organizers were forced to cancel a rally for trans liberation in Washington, D.C. this weekend due to far right threats of gun violence.
The event was organized by the Trans Radical Activist Network (TRAN) and Our Rights DC, which released a statement on Thursday asserting that the protest had become a far right target in wake of the Covenant School shooting.
“The safety of our trans community is first priority. This threat is the direct result of the flood of raw hatred directed toward the trans community after the Tennessee shooting,” the collective said in a statement. “Individuals who had nothing to with that heinous act have been subjected to highly serious threats and blamed only because of their gender identity. This is one of the steps in genocide, and we will continue our efforts to protect trans lives.”
TRAN provided Newsweek with screenshots of messages the group had received after the shooting. In one, an anonymous user calls the group a “terrorist” outfit. Another user told organizers that transgender and gay people “should be slaughtered.”
“We received a possible active shooter threat and to protect trans life, which is our ultimate goal, we will be canceling,” an organizer of the protest told Buzzfeed News.
The protest was planned for “Trans Day of Vengeance” on Saturday, in tandem with Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV) rallies across the country.
“Vengeance means fighting back with vehemence,” TRAN said on their website. “We are fighting against false narratives, criminalization, and eradication of our existence.”
“Trans Day of Vengeance is more action-oriented,” Bo Belotti, one of the organizers of the protest, told BuzzFeed. “The idea is that we want more than visibility, we want more than a hypothetical spot in the room. We want the seat at the table. We don’t want to just see trans folks represented in media as tokens. We want trans people in their everyday lives to be able to live lives free of transphobia.”
Right-wing media personalities, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia), had amplified false narratives about the Trans Day of Vengeance protest after it was revealed that the Covenant School shooter was likely transgender.
Twitter removed Greene’s post about the event, along with more than 5,000 other posts containing the phrase “Trans Day of Vengeance,” falsely claiming that Trans Day of Vengeance protests were organized to “incite violence.”
“We do not support tweets that incite violence irrespective of who posts them,” Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of Trust and Safety, said on Twitter. “‘Vengeance’ does not imply peaceful protest. Organizing or support for peaceful protests is ok.”
Organizers of the Trans Day of Vengeance protest have been doxxed, and one organizer has had pre-transition photos of their partner shared by trolls.
“I’m scared, but I’m very lucky that I have a wonderful community that I call home here in Virginia and in the national network that I was able to lean on,” Belotti told Buzzfeed.
The far right has weaponized the Covenant School shooting to justify attacks on trans existence nationwide, putting organizers of the Trans Day of Vengeance in the firing line.
“This has fit into their existing narrative presenting trans people as dangerous criminals, presenting gender affirming care as inherently dangerous, and it’s very alarming to see them turn this up to 11,” Ari Drennen, the LGBTQ program director for Media Matters of America, told The Washington Post. “I didn’t really think it was possible to escalate from implying we are pedophiles, but we are seeing this escalate into people calling trans people violent terrorists.”