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Republican lawmaker spreads transphobic conspiracy theory that Texas school shooter was trans

Amelia Hansford May 25, 2022
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Rep. Paul Gosar (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Republican lawmaker Paul Gosar has spread a baseless and transphobic rumour that Texas school shooter Salvatore Ramos was a trans “leftist illegal alien”.

Eighteen-year-old gunman Ramos killed at least 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday (24 May), sending waves of grief, shock and anger across the US and beyond.

While the world mourned the senseless loss of life, Arizona congressman Gosar was quick to lay the blame on the trans community, saying on Twitter: “It’s a transsexual leftist illegal alien named Salvatore Ramos.”

A screenshot of Paul Gosar’s Tweet. [Twitter Screenshot]

Although the Trump-endorsed lawmaker has since deleted his tweet, the conspiracy theory continues to be spread across Twitter, Reddit and other social media platforms, with users sharing pictures of innocent trans women claiming them to be Ramos.

One Redditor with the user name Apprehensive_Ad_995 was one of the trans people falsely accused of being the shooter. She eventually addressed the unfounded accusations on Reddit, saying: “It’s not me, I don’t even live in Texas.”

One right-wing Twitter account The California Rifleman, claiming to provide “shooting news and commentary”, was forced to retract its claim that Salvatore was a trans artist while simultaneously misgendering the artist in question.

“Folks, a talented artist under the handle @SamDraws_Stuff claims the pictures with the red sweater shows [her], not the killer,” the account said. “Others claim that the image was found on a social media profile linked to the killer – but the killer could have just shared someone else’s image.”

In an effort to tackle the transphobic misinformation, Twitch streamer Keffals shared a series of photos in a tweet, saying: “This is so messed up. The narrative is already spreading and is going to ruin an innocent person’s life.”

Right-wing journalist Andy Ngo also warned his Twitter followers against sharing “unconfirmed and unverified” pictures. “Please stop sharing them because in the event they aren’t Ramos, you’re harming someone who had nothing to do with the shooting,” he said, in a tweet that also misgendered.

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Even the press secretary of Florida’s anti-LGBTQ+ governor Ron DeSantis, Christina Pushaw, sought to condemn the pictures of trans people being shared, saying: “Some of the pics of trans. people they’re posting are obviously not Ramos.”

Texas governor Greg Abbot identified the Texas shooter as Salvador Ramos, a teenage male who lived in the Uvalde area, saying that he abandoned his car before entering the school to “horrifically, incomprehensibly” open fire with two rifles he bought on his birthday. Authorities say he also shot his grandmother before leaving for the school.

More: Texas

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