Liz Wheeler will be coming to campus next week to speak in the Madison Union Ballroom April 26th. She is a conservative political commentator, who will be speaking at a lecture titled, “The Ideology of Transgenderism.” It is to be hosted by JMU’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, which “brings students together to advocate for individual freedom, free enterprise, a strong national defense, and traditional American values,” according to its website. Many students commented on the post condemning Wheeler and the event, and several tagged JMU and Tim Miller, the vice president for student affairs. Liz has a large history of saying hateful messages to marginalized communities. Several comments said JMU shouldn’t host Wheeler and mentioned protesting the event.
The recent decision by Iowa’s governor to sign a bill that bans gender-affirming care has set back the United States in terms of progress towards equality and human rights. The bill, which was signed into law March 22nd 2023 by Iowa’s governor Kim Reynolds, prohibits doctors from providing transgender individuals with gender-affirming medical treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender reassignment surgery. The state is being sued by the ACLU on behalf of four transgender youth, their families, and a healthcare clinic.
On April 16th in Belfast there were counter rallies between transgender related protestors. The original rally planned was with Let Women Speak which is an organization whose website describes them as “worried, scared, angry” women concerning “men accessing women only places”. Kellie-Kay Jean was meant to speak at the event who is known for her anti-trans beliefs. In response, LGBTQIA activists organized a counter event nearby, despite the Let Women Speak organizers changing their original location after feeling “threatened”. Even after both groups dispersed, another event took place nearby in Writers Square called “Songs for Solidarity” to show support for the transgender community. Through such counter rallies, individuals were expressing that trans-rights do not lessen the rights of anyone else, and that the community just wants to “exist freely”. Its opposers brought up their concern with maintaining women’s spaces and same sex care.