The Tennessee Star obtained photos of Audrey Hale’s final journal earlier this month, illustrating the Nashville shooter’s enduring struggle with mental illness and, most importantly, the influence gender ideology held over every aspect of her life — including her relationship with God.


Hale shot six people — including three nine-year-olds — at Covenant Christian School on March 27, 2023, before being killed by police.

The Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD) subsequently seized several journals from Hale’s home and car but refused to publish them, citing an “ongoing investigation.”

The MNPD’s tight-lipped handling of Hale’s case made the public suspicious. Though Hale had killed six members of a religious group, officials seemed uncharacteristically unwilling to call the shooting a hate crime.

Similarly, while the 28-year-old had been calling herself “Aiden” prior to the shooting, officials seemed similarly unwilling to comment on whether her gender confusion could have influenced her attack on Covenant Christian. The MNPD further refused to disclose whether Hale underwent any transgender medical interventions prior to the shooting.

After more than a month of waiting, the National Police Association (NPA), Star News Digital Media, Inc. and other interested parties sued the MNPD to release Hale’s writings, arguing the journals should be public information.

Star News launched an additional public disclosure suit against the FBI, who assisted in the Hale investigation. Both cases are ongoing.

Though the MNPD has never released Hale’s journals, pieces of them have leaked to the public.

Conservative shock-jock Stephen Crowder published the first pictures of the horrific writings last November, revealing her intention to kill children she believed to have “white privilege.”

On June 5, The Tennessee Star reportedly obtained pictures of the journal Hale brought to the shooting — all 80 pages-worth. Unnamed sources further provided the Star with investigatory materials concerning Hale’s extensive history of mental illness.

The Star has published quotes from Hale’s journals throughout the month, but none of the original photos. Judge I’Aesha Myles forbade the paper’s parent company, Star News, from publishing leaked journal pages until she adjudicates its case against the MNPD.

The Daily Wire is under no such gag order. It published two new photos of Hale’s writings on June 12. Corresponding coverage suggests photos given to the Daily Wire and Crowder likely come from the same journal obtained the Star.

New Medical Information

Hale began treatment at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital (VPH) at just 6 years old, according to medical documents obtained from her parents’ home. It’s unclear what she began receiving treatment for, though Hale’s journals repeatedly reference her autism.

A local psychologist referred Hale to be involuntarily committed to VPH in 2019, while she was a student at Nossi College of Art. Instead, Hale participated in the hospital’s young adult Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP).

The IOP treats people for anxiety disorders, depression and suicidality, according to its website, and addresses symptoms including “anger or irritability, inability to regulate emotions, interpersonal conflicts, isolation, mood-related sleep disturbances and recurring suicidal thoughts.”

At the time of the shooting, Hale had prescriptions for three common depression and anxiety medications:

  • Lexapro (for depression)
  • Buspirone (for anxiety)
  • Hydroxizine (an allergy medication also prescribed for “anxiety and tension”)

Leaked pictures of Hale’s medicine cabinet revealed an additional prescription for Lorazapam, a benzodiazepine also used to treat anxiety.

Hale’s post-mortem blood tests did not screen for the drugs listed above. Autopsy technicians noted no medications in her stomach.

No information released by the Star suggests Hale was taking opposite-sex hormones prior to her death. Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) refuses to comment on Hale’s treatment.

The Journal

The journal obtained by the Star begins in January 2023 and continues to the day of Hale’s attack. What we know of her writing articulates a worldview filled with anger and self-hatred — a toxic mixture she seems to have stewed in daily for years.

In an undated entry titled “My Brain…This Life,” Hale herself writes:

I have no one to talk to. I talk to myself. I’m with myself all the time.

Gender ideology seemed to sustain — if not inspire — this noxious narrative, coloring her view of herself, her family, her country and even her relationship with God.


Hale believed she had a “male brain.” She blamed this perceived mismatch between her body and mind for her sadness, lack of motivation and even her autism.

  • “My dreams [of being a boy] cannot be here, so I must I die. I feel bad. Hurt too much. Sad all the f****** time. Either I have too much estrogen or am just a sad, lonely boy,” – “My Brain … This Life”
  • “This female gender role makes me not want to exist. No. To be completely gone in physical form … off the face of the Earth.” — March 8
  • “Mom just says I’m young and young people make mistakes. But with me, its painfully more than that, with being autistic and waste time all the time.”— March 11

Hale recalls years of social and mental discomfort before “finally [finding] the answer—that changing one’s gender is possible” in her early twenties. But despite supposedly “embrac[ing] who [she] really was without shame” for years, Hale’s self-perception in her final months seems exceptionally negative.

She routinely describes herself as “no one”, “nothing”, and “white nothingness” — an apparent reference to the racial motivations behind her attack. On February 10, she wrote,

No one, I mean no one will think my life meant something after I die. None of this s*** will matter to them once I’m dead. No way will they even notice when I’m gone.

Hale makes repeated reference to God and Christianity, suggesting that she was raised in or around the church. Hale’s belief in gender ideology made her angry at God, whom she accused of creating her wrong.

  • “Why did God make me this way? I feel wrong. I was born wrong.” — “My Brain…This Life”
  • “Why does my brain not work right? Because I was born wrong. Nothing on earth can save me…never ending pain. Religion won’t save.”— undated entry
  • “I was damned to be born this way.” — March 11

Interestingly, Hale still looked forward to heaven, where she believed she would be a boy.


Hale associates Christianity with her parents, whom she castigates for failing to support her gender confusion. While mentioned throughout the journal, she explains her sentiments in detail in an undated entry — likely from March.

  • “Aren’t parents manipulative? It’s total ignorance when parents step in and try to change their child’s environment. Make them go to youth group and force Christian friend in their life because the old ones were a ‘bad’ influence. I can’t f****** stand that s***.”
  • “Parents actually believe religion can change nature. That could explain why I don’t practice religion anymore.”

In an entry from March 11, Hale apparently describes an ongoing conflict with her mom:

I hate parental views; how my mom sees me as a daughter — and she’d not bear to want to lose that daughter because a son would be the death of Audrey. Pain of losing a daughter? That’s not pain, that’s selfishness. … F*** parents like them who think of themselves first, and their preference of conservative religion makes them believe that the child they’re given should stay that way in how they prefer them to be.

Ironically, in an interview with police obtained by a Nashville radio broadcast, Hale’s mom claimed she didn’t aggressively confront Hale’s gender confusion for fear of ruining their relationship.

I was not going to judge her because I didn’t want to lose her and I knew this really wasn’t about [gender confusion].

Gender ideology skewed Hale’s view of herself, her relationship with God and her parents’ love. Each flawed narrative contributed to her larger rejection of society, whom she felt had rejected her first.

  • “People pretend they like me, then block, delete, erase me.” — undated entry
  • “So now in America, it makes one a criminal to have a gun, or be transgender, or be nonbinary. … God I hate those s******* politicians. So now [because] of you, I wish death on myself cause of the pure hatred of my female gender.” — February 20
  • “I am of no society. And I hate society [because] society ignores to see me. I’m a queer; I’m meant to die.”— February 20
Why It Matters

Critics have long argued that publishing Audrey Hale’s writings would only sensationalize the unspeakable evil she committed in her last moments on Earth. But her journal, and the MNPD’s investigation, don’t simply confirm what the public already knew — that she was a deeply-disturbed individual.

It illustrates the power of an idea to flip a person’s world upside down.

As the Daily Citizen has long reported, gender ideology is about far more than gender — it raises fundamental questions about reality and objective truth. The longer Hale wallowed in the idea that she had been created wrong, the more she struggled to see the world, and the people who loved her, clearly.

God, in his infinite love, warns us repeatedly of the power of bad ideas. In a world infested with these ideas, its more important than ever to mediate on this command:

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil (Proverbs 4:23-27, ESV).

If you or someone you know need help dealing with the transgender issue, check out Focus on the Family’s Transgender Resources page.

Focus on the Family exists to help families, and that includes help navigating the issues of homosexuality and transgenderism. Focus offers a free, one-time counseling consultation with a licensed or pastoral counselor. To request a counseling consultation, call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) or fill out our Counseling Consultation Request Form.

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