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Aggressive activists fail to shut down Riley Gaines speech at U. Buffalo

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.

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.


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.

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.

MORE: SFSU student president blames Riley Gaines for being assaulted, citing her ‘hateful rhetoric’

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.