Transgender activists unsuccessfully protested conservative speakers at a Pennsylvania college, claiming the speaking events endangered students.
One of the speakers was Riley Gaines, an NCAA swimmer who competed against transgender athlete Lia Thomas. Gaines has become a figurehead for women’s rights and fairness in girls’ sports.
But liberal University of Pittsburgh students called her a transphobe and protested for the event to be canceled.
“I think this country as a whole needs to reevaluate what free speech means,” said student Stevie Windston. “I feel like a lot of people have weaponized that term to justify being harmful and discriminatory.”
Students even started an online petition to “hold the University of Pittsburg accountable,” claiming the events included “incendiary and hateful propaganda.”
Liliana Orozco, president of Pitt’s chapter of Turning Point USA and host of the events, assured local media all events would be conducted in a “civil” manner.
But that didn’t stop the histrionics.
“The simplest solution would be to just cancel the events, but if they want to provide safety I mean, other than just giving each trans person their own personal bodyguard, which would be absurd,” claimed one transgender student. “Otherwise I don’t know what they could do to improve the safety of trans people on campus.”
The Pennsylvania House LGBTQ+ Equity Caucus also condemned the events, accusing the speakers of “hate speech.”
However, students who actually attended the events witnessed nothing of the sort.
“It definitely opened my eyes to how other people think about the whole situation,” Evan Swatchick said. “She [Gaines] wasn’t calling for hate or for violence toward any individual. She was merely displaying her experience.”
The university spokesperson reiterated that free speech has many forms, including “divisive perspectives” and “peaceful demonstrations.”
Trans activists who didn’t attend Gaines’ event also protested out on the streets, shutting down a traffic intersection near the school.
— Independent Women's Forum (@IWF) March 27, 2023
Gaines herself was critical of the treatment she received at the university.
“When Dylan Mulvaney comes to UPitt, he gets paid $26,000 from school funding,” she tweeted, contrasting it with her experience of being “protested, threatened with violence and attempted to get the event canceled by students, faculty, and lawmakers.”
When Dylan Mulvaney comes to UPitt, he gets paid $26,000 from school funding. When Riley Gaines comes to UPitt, she gets protested, threatened with violence, and attempted to get the event canceled by students, faculty, and lawmakers.
Something tells me Im doing something right https://t.co/RWqUx8AxgQ
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) March 28, 2023
Pitt’s chapter of Turning Point USA also recently hosted conservative commentators like Michael Knowles and Cabot Phillips.