Protesters want ‘environment’ where such comments ‘aren’t welcome and aren’t normal’
Activists at Liberty University gathered this week to publicly oppose comments made by the school’s president that his granddaughter will be raised as a girl.
Jerry Falwell Jr. made the comments during a televised event for the Conservative Political Action Conference this year, The Lynchburg News & Advance reports. “She’s our granddaughter, and we’re raising her as a girl. We’re not letting her have a choice. God makes the choice of what the babies are going to be and God decided she would be a girl,” he said of the newest member of his family.
Falwell also remarked of his granddaughter that “she’s got a little baby doll right under her arm every second,” claiming that there would be “no need to make a concerted effort to raise their granddaughter as a girl,” according to The News & Advance.
Falwell’s claims that his family would be raising a little girl as a girl was meant with opposition on his school’s campus, with students gathering to protest the Falwell family’s decision:
Isaac Zralii, a transgender man and Liberty graduate who now runs transgender programs for the Lynchburg Diversity Center, said transphobia marginalizes those who fall outside of the traditional male female gender binary and opens them up to abuse or even violence.
“The biggest takeaway is that for transgender students, with those kinds of comments you don’t feel accepted, you don’t feel loved, you don’t feel protected,” Zralii said.
As students protested in the brisk late winter weather, some passersby offered encouragement while others questioned the demonstrators. Garner and Axley said the discussions, though spirited, were positive and constructive.
Caleb Fitzpatrick, a senior and demonstrator, said the group hoped to use the event to spark a shift in attitude on a largely conservative campus.
“Our hope is to start a conversation that can hopefully lead to change within social perception and university policy,” he said. “Hopefully we can create an environment where comments like Friday’s aren’t welcome and aren’t normal.”
A vice president for the university affirmed to the newspaper that the school “supports free speech and the right to assemble.”
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