The shocking verbal and physical abuse of swimmer Riley Gaines at the hands of transgender activists and their supporters, after she spoke on April 6 at San Francisco State University (SFSU), is another reminder that America has created a toxic culture where one side, the Left, believes it has the right to violently shut down its opponents.
And it increasingly is happening around the issue of transgenderism. Its activists are growing bolder and bolder, and violent, with demands that everyone accept that they can, indeed, change sex by wishing it so.
Gaines was at SFSU to speak about being forced to compete against Lia Thomas, a man who says he’s a woman and is therefore allowed to defeat women in swimming competitions.
She has become a spokesperson of sorts for the rights of women to be allowed to compete against only other women, therefore showing a degree of courage unmatched by others who decide to stay quiet. And we can see why.
Demonstrators—organized, according to the New York Post, by SFSU’s Queer and Trans Resource Center—rushed in from outside after her talk and surrounded Gaines. Videos of the mob attacking Gaines flooded social media over the Easter weekend. Gaines was quoted by the Post as saying she was “ambushed and physically hit.” Her husband Louis Barker told Fox News that Gaines was “hit multiple times.”
Clips on social media show a mob chasing Gaines as overwhelmed security men tried to protect her. Obscenities such as “you FXXXng transphobic Bxxtch,” can be heard over and over, as well as “You crying? You crying, you fxxxng crying, bxxth? Fax you!” (They don’t seem to have a very extensive vocabulary.)
Gaines, a 23-year-old, 12-time All-American champion, may have been physically shaken—she was barricaded for three hours after the mob attack—but she shows no sign of letting up. She tweeted:
The prisoners are running the asylum at SFSU...I was ambushed and physically hit twice by a man. This is proof that women need sex-protected spaces. Still only further assures me I'm doing something right. When they want you silent, speak louder.
Sadly, this is only the most recent attack by a mob of leftist students against a speaker with whom they disagreed. Last month, Stuart Kyle Duncan, a judge on the on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, went to speak at Stanford Law School, one of the country’s best law schools.
“When I arrived, the walls were festooned with posters denouncing me for crimes against women, gays, blacks and trans people’,” Judge Duncan wrote in the Wall Street Journal on May 17. About 100 protestors awaited him, making noise that could be heard 50 yards away. “As I entered the classroom, one protester screamed: ‘We hope your daughters get raped’!” the judge wrote. (Other witnesses corroborated this account.)
The protesters were not there to oppose the subject of Judge Duncan’s talk, which he says was to be on an arcane matter – how circuit courts interact with the Supreme Court. Rather, the judge says, the protesters were there because in his practice, he represents “clients and advanced arguments the protesters hate.”
“For instance,” added the judge, he has defended “Louisiana’s traditional marriage laws.” The protesters were also “especially vexed” that one of the hundreds of judicial decisions the judge has written was U.S. v. Varner.
In that decision, “a federal prisoner serving a term for attempted receipt of child pornography (and with a previous state conviction for possession of child porn) petitioned our court to order that he be called by feminine pronouns. As my opinion explained, federal courts can’t control what pronouns people use. The Stanford protesters saw it differently: My opinion had ‘denied a transwoman’s existence’.”
The treatment they meted out to the judge was, again, despicable. They did not hit him, as Gaines’s protesters hit her.
But Judge Duncan did have to contend with the added insult (and absurdity) of having a member of Stanford’s staff join the Maoist struggle session against him. Tirien Steinbach, Stanford’s associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, had been sitting in the room where Judge Duncan was to speak. She asked the judge if she could speak, and then, rather than defending him, proceeded to pile on.
Judge Duncan’s work, she said, felt “abhorrent” and “literally denies the humanity of people.” Steinbach made it sound as though she was working to “create a space of belonging for all people” and reassured him that he was “absolutely welcome in this space.”
“I didn’t feel welcome—who would?” wrote the Judge in the Wall Street Journal.
Given the circumstances, the judge adjourned his talk and, like Gainer, had to be escorted out. Yes, the President of Stanford and the dean of the Law School did apologize later (better than SFSU has done so far, though their embarrassment happened only hours before this writing). Steinbach has also gone on “administrative leave,” according to Fox News. But the damage has been done.
The growing threat that people who see themselves as something other than their biological sex must be addressed by the pronouns of their choice—or else—is, of course, totalitarian. To remain a free society, there is no choice but to resist this extortion. It is not going to be easy, but the alternative is worse.
This piece originally appeared in Fundacion Disenso