A transgender woman at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee was verbally assaulted by a speaker invited by a conservative group on campus. That speaker was none other than Milo Yiannopoulos. If you don’t know how much about him, you’re better off—he’s a favorite of white supremacists who call themselves “alt-right.”
Here’s one of the hateful things Yiannopoulos said—fair warning, his language is very transphobic and misgenders the student. Skip the next paragraph if you don’t want to read that.
“I have known some passing trannies in my life. Trannies — you’re not allowed to say that,” he said. “I’ve known some passing trannies, which is to say transgender people who pass as the gender they would like to be considered.” Yiannopoulos, who’s gay, then pointed to a projected image of the transgender student and said, “Well, no. The way that you know he’s failing is I’d almost still bang him.”
After the incident, the university released an empty statement. “I will not stand silently by when a member of our campus community is personally and wrongly attacked,” wrote school Chancellor Mark Mone. “I am disappointed that this speaker chose to attack a transgender student.”
Speaking out against Yiannopoulos is better than the university not speaking out against him. But here’s the thing: this behavior isn’t even a little bit surprising, and students had been asking the university not to let Yiannopoulos spew his hate on campus for a month leading up to his appearance. University officials knew what they were getting into by letting Yiannopoulos speak or were willfully ignorant of it. So this after-the-fact condemnation of what Yiannopoulos said amounts to lip service. The only acceptable way for the university to respond at this point is an apology saying officials really screwed up on this one.
Instead, chancellor Mone encouraged students to use the hashtag #UWMstandstogether. The transgender student responded in a beautiful, lengthy, rage-filled email laced with expletives. It was published by a student-activist website in full, and is recommended reading:
And we’re supposed to respond with positive messages, not anger? WHAT FUCKING WORLD DO YOU LIVE IN. Do you have any idea how much fucking privilege you have to even BEGIN saying something like that? WHAT. THE. FUCK. You do NOT get to dictate how we feel. You do NOT get to tell us what our emotions should be. Oh but okay, here’s a positive message: Nobody died! WOO-FUCKING-HOO! Positivity! Go Panthers!
Fuck no. I am done getting repeatedly abused and shit on, and expected to just take it and not be angry. But don’t worry, I’m not angry. I’m way, way beyond that. I am SO FUCKING DONE having to justify my humanity to shitheads like you all the fucking time. Angry bitches get shit done. You say to not respond with “anger”…goddamn you haven’t the slightest fucking clue what pervasive marginalization is like.
Meanwhile, people are using the recommended hashtag to criticize the University and chancellor for allowing Yiannopoulos to speak on campus.