One protester arrested, but speech took place without disruption
Despite aggressive protests leading up to a speech by women’s sports advocate Riley Gaines at the University at Buffalo, the talk went interrupted and a protester was arrested by police.
Prior to the April 13 talk, students tore down posters on campus advertising the speech by the former University of Kentucky swimmer.
Protesters also peppered the school with malicious fliers mocking Gaines, turning her into the clown from the Stephen King novel “It,” as well as poking fun at her for not being able to beat Lia Thomas, a transgender swimmer.
Some pictures of me around @UBuffalo campus in light of my appearance next week. I'll never understand people putting this much effort into something/someone they don't like😂 All for saying men and women are physiologically different…. pic.twitter.com/HgLmJqixFM
— Riley Gaines (@Riley_Gaines_) April 4, 2023
A petition launched at the school argued Gaines’ presence was “harmful” to the LGBTQ community and demanded the school open a LGBTQ+ Center with at least one fulltime staff member and actively recruit transgender speakers.
At a protest outside the auditorium where Gaines spoke, students chanted and yelled “we’re here, we’re queer, we will not disappear.” Another protester attempted to hit a camera out of a conservative activist’s hands, which led the demonstrator to be arrested by police.
— Rebecca Brannon (@RebsBrannon) April 13, 2023
Breaking: outside of the @tpusa_buffalo Riley Gaines event a protestor hit the camera out of the hands of a @LeadershipInst camera woman and ran off, soon to be arrested and handcuffed by the police. @TPUSA @tpusastudents pic.twitter.com/Dis8jbMQ3W
— Stephanie Robinson (@thestephstevens) April 14, 2023
John Della Contrada, a UB spokesman, told Campus Reform that “University Police arrested a 22-year-old female from Buffalo Thursday evening for harassment and disorderly conduct.”
“The individual has no affiliation [with] UB. She was released with an appearance ticket.”
Despite the drama outside, Gaines’ speech was well-received inside, with a standing ovation, the UB Spectrum student newspaper reported.
“I by no means think anyone, regardless of gender identity, race, sex or anything should be banned from playing sports,” Gaines reportedly told the crowd. “It’s a common misconception that people think they’re banning trans athletes. I don’t want anyone to be banned from sports because I truly believe sports are foundational.”
“…In an ideal world, I think a third category is a way to ensure everyone an athletic opportunity, everyone chances for success and everyone safety or privacy in their locker rooms,” she said.
“We’re denying objective truth when we deny what a woman is,” Gaines added. “This is spiritual warfare. The whole movement is moral versus evil, light versus dark.”
TPUSA reported Gaines’ speech is titled “‘Protecting Women’s Sports’ and emphasizes the significant biological advantages males have over females, even after receiving hormone treatments, that cannot be mitigated.”
Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., was in attendance to support Gaines.
I met @Riley_Gaines_ on Nat’l Girls & Women in Sports Day as we walked up the steps of the U.S. Capitol to introduce the “Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act.”
Tonight I joined Riley in Buffalo, NY to support her courageous quest to protect women’s sports! pic.twitter.com/vjWylqVMy1
— Rep. Claudia Tenney (@RepTenney) April 14, 2023
The Buffalo event came shortly after Gaines was assaulted and barricaded in a room by demonstrators, then blamed for the violence by student leaders as well as snubbed by campus administrators, at San Francisco State University.