Salt Lake protests anti-LGBTQ event
Salt Lake City, UT – Despite freezing temperatures and attempts at stifling the student movement, dozens of students and supporters gathered outside of the University of Utah’s Language and Communications building on November 30 to take a stand against a presentation by anti-transgender advocate Chloe Cole. 19-year-old Cole claims that she underwent female-to-male gender affirmation surgery at age 15, detransitioned at age 16 and says that this caused her “lifelong, irreversible harm.”
The protest was put on by Students for a Democratic Society in response to the presentation organized by Young Americans for Freedom, a right-wing student organization with ties to Turning Point USA. The entrance was guarded by at least ten police officers, with several more waiting inside the building, and only allowed people in who were registered for the event.
“The current anti-trans movement is not about protecting women or children. The right’s current fixation with attacking and exterminating the LGBTQ community is a scapegoat to distract the public from what's actually going on around us,” said Students for a Democratic Society organizer Adrian Romero.
Ermiya Fanaeian, an organizer with the Armed Queers of Salt Lake, stated, “The struggle for queer and trans liberation is far from over, and it is a struggle that cannot be stopped by the state, it cannot be stopped by the university administration, and it certainly cannot be stopped by right-wing events and organizations. Today, we fight for trans rights, so that tomorrow we stand in our trans power!”
Despite the cold weather and air pollution, students fiercely shouted chants such as, “Trans healthcare is here to stay! Chloe Cole, go away!” and “U of U, let’s be clear! Hate speech is not welcome here!” They also shouted these chants at the events’ attendees as they exited the building.
During the event, a genderqueer student protester was isolated by officers, who demanded to see the person’s ID, and was charged in connection with a counterprotest which had taken place a few weeks before. University of Utah SDS has reached out to the individual to offer support in battling the charges.