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PSU queer center warns ‘anti-trans provocateurs’ may exercise 1st Amendment rights on campus

In a social media message from a few days ago, an official from Portland State University ‘s Queer Resource Center warned of “provocateurs with anti-gender affirming care viewpoints” coming to campus this week to “instigate debate.”

According to Director of Queer Student Services Murph Murphy, “the intention of provocateurs is not to invite productive dialogue. Their tactic is to provoke students, faculty and staff – record it and turn our community into clickbait material to be consumed by other folks with anti-Trans stances.”

Murphy didn’t identify just who these “provocateurs” are, but did say they are “trained to stay calm and within their rights to share their opinions on public property under the First Amendment.”

“Legally, we cannot stop them,” Murphy (pictured) said. “But we can ignore them and not give them what they want: a reaction from us and further polarization.”

Murphy, who helps “provide campus wide training on specific topics such as proper pronoun usage, LGBTQ Identities [and] intersectionality” at PSU according to her Linkedin page, also recommended a “radical act of resistance” — partaking of “cotton candy, crafts, temporary tattoos and community” at the Queer Resource Center’s social hour every day this week from 12-1pm.

The student paper PSU Vanguard referred to the “provocateurs”  as “anti-trans” and said their goal was “to confront students.”

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The paper noted the Queer Resource Center’s warning came “shortly” after a message from PSU President Stephen Percy stating that the university “stands behind those who are trans and gender divergent” in the wake of various state “anti-trans” legislation.

Percy’s message said “At Portland State, we are committed to being a safe space for all members of the LGBTQIA+ community to learn and thrive. We recognize the toll this campaign, and the media that surrounds it, has on the queer and trans members of our community along with their family and friends. Please know that there are resources that all may find supportive in the current environment.”

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IMAGES: Shutterstock.com; Linkedin screencap; PSU QRC/Facebook screencap

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.