“There is zero reason to publish a trans person’s deadname.”
The second suspect in a Tuesday shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado is a 16-year-old transgender boy who goes by the name Alec McKinney.
McKinney is suspected of aiding 18-year-old Devon Erickson in committing the shooting that left one student dead and eight injured.
During a Wednesday court appearance, lawyers for McKinney – who is a biological female legally named Maya – asked that their client’s preferred pronouns be respected and that McKinney be referred to as “he.”
Disability justice advocate Lydia X.Z. Brown echoed the McKinney legal team’s sentiments on Twitter Thursday, urging journalists not to “deadname” the suspect.
“Dear every reporter writing about the #STEMShooting #ColoradoShooting: There is zero reason to publish a trans person’s deadname. Especially a minor’s deadname,” Brown said. “This dude is a murderous asshole. Neither being trans nor having psych disabilities made him an asshole.”
* There is zero reason to publish a trans person's deadname. Especially a minor's deadname.
* This dude is a murderous asshole. Neither being trans nor having psych disabilities made him an asshole.
— Lydia X. Z. Brown (@autistichoya) May 9, 2019
District attorney George Brauchler has yet to decide whether to charge McKinney, who is being held on suspicion of murder and attempted murder, as an adult, the Post reported. McKinney, who appeared in court Wednesday with his mother, is expected back for another hearing Friday.
At a Wednesday morning press conference, Colorado officials declined to use McKinney’s preferred pronouns.
“We originally thought that we had a juvenile male in custody but through our interviews yesterday late afternoon determined that we have a juvenile female that is in custody right now who is the other suspect,” Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock told reporters, without naming McKinney.
“Right now, we are identifying the individual as a female, because that’s where we’re at,” he continued. “We originally thought the juvenile was a male by appearance.”
Details are still emerging about Erickson, the other suspected student shooter. According to Spurlock, two handguns were used during the incident, and police also recovered a rifle. He said that police responded to the shooting in under two minutes.
“They immediately engaged the suspects and started rescuing the children who were injured,” Spurlock said.
The sheriff’s office announced late Tuesday that it would not be providing further information on Erickson, saying that “we still have interviews to conduct and we want to make sure we have the most accurate information.”
Local news outlets reported that Erickson does not have a criminal record. However, the young man has a well-documented record of anti-conservative activism on social media.
Erickson, a registered Democrat who expressed support for LGBT rights, said on Facebook in 2014 that he hated Christians for their beliefs about homosexuality.
“You know what I hate? All these Christians who hate gays, yet in the bible, it says in Deuteronomy 17:12-13, if someone doesn’t do what their priest tells them to do, they are supposed to die. It has plenty of crazy stuff like that. But all they get out of it is ‘ewwwwww gays,’” he said.
In 2015, Erickson shared a post from the left-wing Occupy Democrats Facebook page praising then-President Barack Obama. In 2016, he shared a video of NBC talk show host Seth Meyers delivering one of his many monologues criticizing President Donald Trump.