The gun-obsessed Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) believes that being transgender and learning about societal oppression will “radicalize” students and make them mentally ill, causing them shooting up schools.
Her views echo right-wing justifications for bans on LGBTQ+ and racial justice curriculum in schools. Her views also avoid blaming guns for recent mass shootings, blaming queer people and progressive politics instead.
In her March 30th interview with gay conservative podcaster Dave Rubin, Boebert said, “I believe that the left is radicalizing [shooters]. You know, when you’re telling someone, ‘You’re not good enough. You are oppressed. You are the lesser person. You are the lesser class,’ well then, that’s going to get in inside of them and cause depression and more mental health crises.”
Rubin agreed with Boebert. He asked, “At what point, when you constantly tell this group of people that they are oppressed, that there is a ‘trans genocide’ — you know, all of the stuff that is just patently untrue — at what point do you have to look at your colleagues and be like, ‘See there? There is a problem here. You actually are radicalizing a certain set of people, right?'”
Boebert replied, “I do think that that’s true. And that is something that we need to speak up just as one particular instance. I don’t want to blame all of the people. But yes, there is a mental health crisis, and the left is only escalating it. They are increasing this mental health crisis rather than addressing it. Gender dysphoria used to be something that you went and got help for and now it’s encouraged.”
Boebert is correct that there’s a mental health crisis in the United States. According to Mental Health America, over 10 percent of youth and 20% of adults were experiencing a mental illness between 2019 and 2020 — that’s over 51 million people, and about half of them didn’t receive any kind of treatment.
However, national rates of mental illness have been exacerbated by the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic, the inaccessibly high cost of mental healthcare, and societal stigma associated to mental illness, according to the healthcare research firm The Advisory Board.
Right-wing figures like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Fox News host Tucker Carlson have repeatedly claimed that trans people “grooming” and “sexualizing” kids with “gender ideology” that will confuse and coerce children into gender dysphoria and, eventually, “irreversible” medical procedures that will “mutilate” them for life. These untrue and stigmatizing claims have led to death threats against trans people, drag performers, LGBTQ+-allied educators, and medical professionals alike.
Regardless, it’s not surprising that Boebert is blaming trans people instead of gun for mass shootings. Her campaign ads bragged about her carrying a gun on U.S. Capitol grounds, she once owned a now-defunct open carry firearm-themed restaurant, and she has let her own eight-year-old son and his friend play around loaded rifles in her home, in violation of Colorado state law.