On the evening of Oct. 27, the University of Alabama chapter of Young Americans for Freedom hosted Matt Walsh of The Daily Wire for his last stop on the “What is a Woman?” college tour.
The evening consisted of a screening of the commentator’s feature-length documentary of the same name and a live Q&A session with Walsh. The screening took place at North Lawn Hall room 2005 starting at 5:30, and the Q&A took place at the Math and Science Building room 1001 starting at 7:00.
Both events reached maximum capacity, which was around 400 people.
“Tonight, we proved YAF remains committed to promoting the truth even when it’s controversial,” said Wyatt Eichholz, President of UA YAF. “We also saw that we’re not alone, either. It was powerful to see how many kinds of faces were in the crowd.”
“This event served not only our student body, but also the Alabama community,” he said.
The Q&A session began with remarks from Walsh, who debunked the major points his detractors use to delegitimize his presence in the trans conversation. He said his foremost goal in fighting the trans lobby is the pursuit of truth.
“I do hope that this event, and the ‘What is a Woman?’ tour broadly, sets a trend for conservatives on college campuses. We shouldn’t be afraid to engage the left in these spaces tackling controversial subjects. We should come prepared to promote the truth and defend it,” said Eichholz.
Protesters convened at 5:00 on the Quad to protest Walsh’s speaking on campus. The protest was organized by the Queer Student Association, Planned Parenthood Generation Action, UA College Democrats, and the Leftist Collective. Many protesters wielded handmade signs and dressed in flag-themed attire.
“Yesterday, we had a huge discussion about anger and protesting and how it really relates to healthy community building,” said a student representative of the Canterbury Student Forum, an Episcopal student group.
“We’re here to show our values and that Christianity is not isolated just to conservatism, and not to mention the fact that God doesn’t have a gender. This perpetuation of hate not only goes against us and our beliefs morally but also against the Capstone Creed.”
“I don’t necessarily believe that a woman should be defined by a white man, I think a woman should be defined by a woman and that femininity transcends our normal binary notion of gender.”
“People are made in God’s image, and that means to be free; so people are free, so let them be,” said Canterbury Chapel’s Reverend Marc Burnette.
“I’m here to protest the blatantly transphobic and fascist Matt Walsh […] along with his blatantly unfactual ‘What is a Woman?’ documentary,” said another protester. The student said he is against all of Walsh’s political opinions and “the fact that he’s a theocratic fascist, the fact that he has said that, quote, ‘we lost our republic after reconstruction,’ […] he’s also defended pedophiles like Josh Duggar and others and also advocates for the end of American democracy and a Christian fascist government.”
Capstone Free Press asked if he had a message for Walsh.
“You shouldn’t have come here,” he said.
“I think the biggest issue that we personally have with it is that the University was willing to dedicate funding for this event. We [don’t believe] the student government should give any money to political causes no matter what the side is,” said another student at the protest.
“I don’t think [Walsh] approaches any situation trying to hear from the other side, trying to encourage people to be more open-minded. I think he approaches conversations trying to prove his agenda, and I just think that’s a really unhealthy political environment to show to a lot of people in America, especially youth.”
“I’m disappointed that there weren’t more individuals from across the aisle willing to attend our event, interact with conservative points of view, and ask Matt a question,” said Eichholz.
“Speech isn’t violence; the entire point of debate is that we as rational human beings can exchange differing ideas peacefully through discussion.”
Walsh photo courtesy of Preston Roten.