Democratic lawmakers are asking the University of Pittsburgh to cancel three “anti-trans” speakers
A row over freedom of expression has erupted after a Pennsylvania lawmaker demanded that three speakers be canceled from a university event over alleged anti-transgender views.
State Representative La’Tasha Mayes raised concerns about an event at the University of Pittsburgh that will provide a platform for swimmer Riley Gaines – who was beaten by trans athlete Lia Thomas last year – journalist Cabot Phillips and political commentator Michael Knowles .
Critics interpreted Mayes’ comments as a thinly veiled threat that the university would be deprived of funding if it failed to comply.
More than 11,000 students at the university have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of performances by Gaines, Phillips and Knowles.
The petition called the speakers an “attack on trans bodies and humanity.”
State Representative La’Tasha Mayes raised concerns about upcoming events at the University of Pittsburgh that will provide a platform for speakers purportedly representing anti-transgender views
During a tense university funding hearing, Mayes said, “It struck me that three speakers who have crossed the line of free speech on hate speech against transgender students and the transgender community are coming to campus beginning Friday.”
“One of them is essentially saying that transgender people should be eradicated.
“Chancellor, you are allowing them to come onto campus. How does this protect transgender people?
“How does this protect LGBTQ+ students at my alma mater and how does this align with the University of Pittsburgh’s values and commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity?”
Gaines, 23, has repeatedly spoken out about including trans women in the sport after being beaten by Lia Thomas at the NCAA championships last year. She appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference this year.
Thomas had competed as a male swimmer for three years before making the switch in her senior year, only to find herself breaking records as a woman.
In addition to objecting to Thomas’ unfair advantage given that he was born a male, Gaines also claimed that she was uncomfortable in the dressing room.
Cancelled: The University of Pittsburgh is under pressure to cancel an appearance by Riley Gaines, who has repeatedly spoken out about transgender women in sports
Gaines, 23, has repeatedly spoken out about including trans women in the sport after being beaten by Lia Thomas at the NCAA championships last year
“You have someone with male genitals pulling down their pants and watching you undress. It throws you off,” she said at the time.
Meanwhile, Philips is an editor and podcaster for the right-wing news site Daily Wire, and Knowles is a political commentator who recently said the presence of transgender people upsets children.
The trio are scheduled to speak at a Turning Point USA event on the university campus.
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher appeared to dismiss Maye’s calls to cancel the stars’ appearances as he said he was “obliged” to support freedom of expression.
“We stand fully behind all of our students, including our transgender and gender non-conforming students, who have major concerns about this,” he said at the hearing. M
“We understand the concerns and agree that much of the rhetoric that is taking place at the national level, and potentially taking place on campus, is hugely problematic for them.
“The other problem is that the university is a place of dialogue. I am committed to supporting both constitutional and academic freedom of speech.”
He added: “We will do our best to navigate this very difficult arena.
“The one thing that makes this very challenging is the tendency to want to define what the university stands for, who gets to speak on campus, and therein lies a problem.”
After listening to him, Mayes repeated her request that the speakers be removed from the platform.
“I join my call for you to cancel the speakers who are coming to campus,” she said.
Campaign organization Speech First slammed Mayes because they believed she was threatening to withdraw funding from the university if she didn’t comply with her request.
Cabot Philips, left, is an editor and podcaster for the right-wing news site Daily Wire, and Michael Knowles, right, is a political commentator who recently said the presence of transgender people “disgusts” children.
It also accused the Democrat of misrepresenting a statement by Michael Knowles calling for the eradication of “transgenderism.”
But Mayes told the hearing he wanted transgender people to be eradicated.
Cherise Trump, executive director of Speech First, said: “Legislators shouldn’t use veiled threats to withhold funding from universities just because they don’t like a person invited to speak.
“By twisting Michael Knowles’ comments to fit her narrative and provoke outrage, Mayes intentionally exacerbates a problem that just isn’t there.”
She added: “Maye’s” attempts to force a university into submission are abuses of power.
“We will not be bullied, there will be consequences for censorship, and that starts with lawmakers and administrators alike being held accountable for their actions.”
Dailymail.com has reached out to Mayes and the University of Pittsburgh.
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/uncategorized/democrat-lawmaker-urges-university-of-pittsburgh-to-cancel-three-anti-trans-speakers/ Democratic lawmakers are asking the University of Pittsburgh to cancel three “anti-trans” speakers