NBC News correspondent Niala Charles tripped and stumbled on Tuesday while trying not to misgender the person accused of committing mass murder inside a Colorado Springs LGBT nightclub.
While reporting on the more than 300 criminal charges filed against the alleged perpetrator, Charles tried to use the suspect’s preferred pronouns — “they” and “them” — but it was clear she struggled to maintain coherence.
“The defense says its client uses ‘they/them’ pronouns, which doesn’t indicate their sexual identity and clearly hasn’t stopped the district attorney with charging them with bias,” Charles reported. “Prosecutors say there’s a voluminous amount of evidence here in this case to support those charges, and as for the penalties, in the state of Colorado, there isn’t a death penalty, so the suspect is looking at a possible life in prison.”
Toward the end of her report, Charles’ brain appeared to misfire as she actually misgendered the alleged perpetrator.
“In court today, the suspect was in a yellow jumpsuit and significantly less bruised than when we saw them in their last court appearance after two people charged him — them — and prevented them from doing even more damage, hurting even more people,” she said.
What is the background?
The suspected shooter’s lawyers filed court documents last month that disclosed their client identifies as “non-binary.”
“[Our client] is non-binary. They use they/them pronouns, and for the purposes of all formal filings, will be addressed as Mx. [the alleged perpetrator’s last name],” a footnote in a court filing said.
The development left some media personalities stunned because it undercut the narrative that a right-wing lunatic filled with anti-LGBT hate is responsible for the massacre at Club Q. How can that be when the alleged perpetrator himself identifies as being a member of the broader LGBT community?
Indeed, since the court filing, the media has been mostly silent about the case.
On Tuesday, prospectors filed 305 criminal charges against the suspect, including “bias-motivated crimes,” which are Colorado’s version of hate crimes.