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‘Cruel’: Franklin & Marshall faculty denounce ‘transphobic’ Lia Thomas teammate speech

Criticizing transgenderism is linked to death, scholars claim

A speech by former William “Lia” Thomas teammate Paula Scanlan promotes “dehumanizing and cruel,” views according to a letter signed by Franklin & Marshall College affiliates.

The letter, signed by more than 125 professors, administrators, and staff, criticizes the speech planned for Wednesday and hosted by the campus Young Americans for Freedom and the national Young America’s Foundation.

Scanlan (pictured) swam at the University of Pennsylvania with Thomas, a male who says he is a woman, and has been critical of gender ideology in sports.

“We write to affirm the value and dignity of these members of our community. Trans lives matter,” the letter from the Pennsylvania university affiliates states in all bold.

“Consequently, the undersigned faculty and staff at Franklin & Marshall College unequivocally denounce the choice to invite transphobic speaker Paula Scanlan to our campus on March 27, in close proximity to Transgender Day of Visibility,” the letter states.

They do not want the speech canceled, but they do want the administration to denounce it.

“Scanlan is currently on a college speaking tour and is working with a well-funded, far-right ‘culture war’ machine that seeks to sow division, provoke backlash, generate publicity, and weaken public confidence in higher education,” the letter states.

Signers include two assistant deans, Jessica Haile and Nadia Mann, and Kathy Babb, the interim associate director of Greek life.

Scanlan’s rhetoric could even lead to death, as other criticism of transgenderism has before, the letter alleges.

The letter states:

We believe, based on this evidence, that the goal of her college tour is not the civil, academic discussion of ideas. We maintain that its content is dehumanizing and cruel. Accordingly, we are deeply concerned about this talk’s impact on our community, and in particular on our trans and non-binary students.

Our community has lost many cherished LGBTQ+ members over the years, and in recent weeks we have lost a beloved trans student, writer, and activist. We mourn alongside the family members, friends, and allies most affected during this painful time. We also recognize the large and growing body of evidence that shows a direct correlation between the anti-trans rhetoric promulgated by Scanlan and others and the violence perpetrated against trans people. There is a causal relationship between casual and institutional transphobia and trans death.

None of the evidence cited appears to support the claim of a “causal relationship.”

Rather, activist groups, such as the ACLU, are cited, giving their opinion. Another source discusses the death of Nex Benedict, an Oklahoma student who identifies as “nonbinary,” who started a fight in a high school bathroom, and later died of drug overdose.

The letter concludes with another condemnation of “dehumanization.”

“We believe that our role as a college community must include speaking out against such dehumanization,” the letter states. “To the queer, trans, and nonbinary members of our community: you have allies on this campus who value and support you. We are committed to fighting alongside you.”

The university also reportedly forbade YAF from streaming the speech, according to a post on the national group’s website.

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IMAGE: Matt Walsh/X

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.