Professor Encourages Students To Protest Speaker Who Called For ‘Eradicating’ Transgenderism: REPORT

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  • A University of Buffalo professor sent an email highlighting protests and other events occurring in opposition to Michael Knowles speech on Thursday, The New Guard reported.
  • Knowles came under fire for saying that transgenderism should be “eradicated” at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 4.
  • Christine Varnado, a gender and sexualities studies professor, called Knowles’ invitation “a very calculated use of our institution and our campus as a public platform from which to advance genocidal anti-trans hatred, misogyny, and homophobia,” according to the email obtained by the New Guard.

A University of Buffalo (UB) professor sent an email to students condemning an upcoming speech hosted by Young America’s Foundation (YAF) featuring conservative commentator Michael Knowles and provided several protest options students can partake in to express their dissent, The New Guard reported.

YAF will host Knowles through its student chapter Young Americans for Freedom on Thursday night to discuss “how radical feminism destroys women (and everything else,)” according to the chapter’s Instagram post. Christine Varnado, a gender and sexualities professor, sent out an email to students Tuesday arguing that the event “is a very calculated use of our institution and our campus as a public platform from which to advance genocidal anti-trans hatred, misogyny, and homophobia” and encouraged protests, according to a Tuesday email sent to a university list serv and obtained by YAF’s publication, the New Guard. (RELATED: Yale Law School Bans Press, Asks Students Not To Record During Conservative Speaker Event)

“YAF has and will continue to stand for freedom of speech. Unfortunately, many on the far-left, including some professors at the University of Buffalo, want voices that differ from theirs to be silenced,” a YAF spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The First Amendment exists to ensure the very thing leftists seem to fear – a peaceful exchange of ideas. It’s our hope that’s exactly what attendees will experience tomorrow night, especially given how tolerant those who disagree claim to be.”

The email was directly sent to Queer Studies Research Workshop members, which is headed by Varnado and “exists to cultivate intellectual exchange at UB among faculty and students who take human sexuality as a critical lens or object of inquiry, in every discipline and field,” according to its website.

Students flooded the chapter’s Instagram page with comments condemning the event and multiple protests have been planned in opposition. Varnado promoted several “peaceful protest actions” in her email, writing to students to “be watchful, and stay connected with others … as [they] consider if/how/where [they] want to engage in these events on Thursday.”

Knowles came under fire after he called to eradicate transgenderism from public life during a speech given March 4 at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“There can be no middle way in dealing with transgenderism,” Knowles said. “It is all or nothing. If transgenderism is true, if men really can become women, then it’s true for everybody of all ages. If transgenderism is false, as it is, if men really can’t become women, as they cannot, then it’s false for everybody too. And if it’s false, then we should not indulge it. Especially since that indulgence requires taking away the rights and customs of so many people.”

There are several events being planned at the same time as Knowles’ speech “to respond to this hateful event” and “express solidarity,” Varnado wrote. Queer student organizations will conduct recruitment tables alongside other community organizations in the Student Union throughout the day and then hold an “outdoor dance party of ‘joyful rebellion.'”

“This day-long show of solidarity is a great place to direct any students who expressed to you that they feel embattled, isolated, attacked, and traumatized by this event,” the organizers wrote, according to the email. Campus Wellness services will also be there to help students.

A zoom forum about “Free Speech and Transgender Rights” will be held Friday and will be open for comments from UB community members, according to the email.

“Take good care and stay strong this week,” Varnado reportedly wrote. “Fuck racism and fascists, everywhere.”

The email was forwarded to graduate students to share with their classes by Ariel Nereson, director of graduate studies, according to the email thread obtained by the New Guard.

“Please see attachments and read on for information related to Michael Knowles’s upcoming appearance at UB, and the solidarity actions, practices of resistance and joy, and mental health resources that are available,” she reportedly wrote.

UB issued a statement March 6 clarifying that it “must uphold the principles of the First Amendment and cannot disallow student groups from inviting controversial speakers to campus, even if the views of the speaker, or content of the speech, is hurtful or demeaning.”

UB, Varnado and Nereson did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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