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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Sac State trans rights advocates protest in opposition to Turning Point USA speaker

Several student organizations demonstrated for hours against the speaker, citing transphobia
Students+protest+for+trans+rights+in+front+of+Amador+Hall+against+Turning+Point+USA%E2%80%99s+event+featuring+former+collegiate+swimmer+Paula+Scanlan+Tuesday%2C+April+2%2C+2024.+Various+student+groups+attended+the+protest+such+as+Allied+Students+for+Justice%2C+Lavender+Alliance+and+Students+for+Quality+Education+at+Sac+State.
Jenn Galinato
Students protest for trans rights in front of Amador Hall against Turning Point USA’s event featuring former collegiate swimmer Paula Scanlan Tuesday, April 2, 2024. Various student groups attended the protest such as Allied Students for Justice, Lavender Alliance and Students for Quality Education at Sac State.

A group of student protesters rallied outside of Amador Hall on Tuesday, voicing their dissent against Sacramento State’s Turning Point USA chapter event.

Members of Students for Quality Education, Lavender Alliance and Allied Students for Justice attended and opposed former collegiate swimmer Paula Scanlan’s message against transgender rights in sports.

Scanlan, a former University of Pennsylvania swimmer, recently filed a lawsuit with other athletes against the NCAA seeking that it render “any biological males ineligible to compete against female athletes.” Scanlan expressed that she did not believe her teammate Lia Thomas, who is transgender, should compete alongside her.

TPUSA is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the widespread of conservative beliefs across college campuses. The Sac State chapter invited Scanlan out for a discussion on “protecting women’s sports.”

RELATED: Controversial conservative group Turning Point USA starts Sac State chapter

One student protester, who wished to remain anonymous for safety reasons, heard about the event through a Reddit post. Students then began spreading the word throughout the campus community, making plans to show up in solidarity.

“We started talking about it in our classes,” the student protester said. “We started organizing just to be out here, getting as many people as we could.”

The student protester said that groups like TPUSA use fear mongering tactics to gain support for causes against transgender people. The goal of the protest was to communicate to the transgender community that they are welcome at Sac State.

“We don’t mind free speech, but we’re gonna come out, especially if you’re attacking a small minority that’s here,” the student protester said. “They should feel welcome on campus.”

The Sac State Police Department ensured a heavy security presence around the north and south sides of Amador Hall.

Harvey Woo, Sac State police department lieutenant, said the officers were there to ensure everyone had a safe space to voice their opinion.

“Currently, we have a group of people who do not agree with the view of the speaker, so they’re exercising their constitutional right to protest,” Woo said.

Sac State alumnus JD Maher stood off to the side of the protest. He was there to support TPUSA, as his wife Tammy Maher is the club advisor for TPUSA at Sac State.

Maher said he believes that transgender people should play in a separate league.

“Biological men are different,” Maher said. “I’m not against people being transgender, but generally, I believe in protecting women in sports.”

While protesters made their voices heard outside, classes were still in session inside Amador Hall. One of these classes was professor Bailey Lechner-Luke’s psychology class who said her students could hear the protest while in class.

“It was noticed, absolutely, and there were a few students that knew why it was happening and what was going on too,” Lechner-Luke said. “I think that was helpful for the rest of the students to understand as well.”

Korey Jones, president of Allied Students for Justice and fourth-year political science major, said he and his club were there in solidarity with the trans community at Sac State.

“I wanted to be an ally in this entire process,” Jones said. “We have to stand together always as students. We always have to be allies.”

The protest concluded around 8 p.m., but students in attendance hope their voices will continue to be heard as they advocate for trans rights within their organizations.

“How long will we allow this to happen on our campus?” Jones said. “Are we going to allow transphobia to persist on our campus?”

The State Hornet reached out to TPUSA at Sac State but they declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Daniel Gonzales, Alexander Musa & Desiree McFarland

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About the Contributor
Micah Yip
Micah Yip, News Staffer
(he/him) Micah Yip is a DEI staffer for The State Hornet. He is a political science/journalism major and is working towards a career in political journalism. Micah is passionate about advocating for positive change through his work and is driven by his firm belief in journalism’s power to uncover truth, expose injustices and shed light on issues that demand attention. Micah has previously written for pop culture news websites CBR and Goalcast.
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  • JamesMay 8, 2024 at 2:33 pm

    Failure to deny someone else’s humanity because of their gender or sexual orientation IS hate, though.

    Reply
  • Muriel Strand, P.E.Apr 6, 2024 at 1:13 pm

    failure to totally accept someone’s ideology is not hate.

    Reply