Unwelcomed and Green Card Abuser Milo Yiannopoulos Squats At Penn State in the Name of Free Speech
#GoRight and #DeportMilo For America
By 7 p.m. on Shortlidge Road, not far from the venue hosting Yiannopoulos’ speech, a crowd of more than 200 bundled in winter coats gathered for a planned protest by student group Students Against Sexist Violence.
The crowd slowly swelled to even greater numbers near Thomas Building, while a half-dozen counter-protesters supporting Yiannopoulos followed the moving crowd from a distance, across the street. The two groups exchanged slogans and chants — and insults — but from opposite sides of Shortlidge. “I wanted to make sure I could come out and help show that the overwhelming consensus at the university is that we don’t want (Milo) here,” said James Locke, a Penn State junior who had attended “Love is Louder” earlier in the night. “Not only do I disagree with his views, I think they’re actively harmful — especially to the LGBTQ community.” Passing cars mostly beeped in support of the anti-Milo crowd, with drivers offering a thumbs-up in their direction. Police stood nearby to prevent any potential altercations, but both groups mostly kept to their own sides, outside of an occasional student getting closer to snap photos or videos with their smartphones.
Police were stationed at virtually every entrance to Thomas Building and, like “Love is Louder,” metal detectors were set up near the hosting room. A standing-room only crowd of about 250 attended the speech, with tickets that ranged from free to $55 (including a Milo meet and greet). At least a dozen eschewed masks despite the university’s mandate, and Uncensored America — the group hosting Yiannopoulos — began handing out free bottles of water as Yiannopoulos’ delay approached an hour.
Before the speech, Uncensored America president Luca Miraldi wanted to make clear that his group didn’t necessarily advocate or agree with Yiannopoulos’ viewpoints regarding conversion therapy, the widely disavowed practice of changing someone’s sexual orientation and a big reason for Yiannopoulos’ appearance. Instead, Uncensored America invited the speaker the Anti-Defamation League once called “a misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, transphobic troll” because it said it supported the right to endorse any message.“Words do hurt, and we all experience that at some point.
Words do hurt — words of rejection, words of exclusion,” he acknowledged. “But, at the end of the day, we’re all 18-plus at this university, and I’m not going to be the one to tell somebody to grow up — but I think it’s time, if you’re going to sign up and pay thousands of dollars to go to a university, you should be willing to open up your mind and be willing to hear things that might be offensive.”
Early in the night, students were forced to stand in line for roughly 30 minutes before making their way inside the “Love is Louder” event, which was endorsed by multiple student organizations, the faculty senate and the State College Borough Council. Chris Watkins, a 2020 graduate dressed in drag and performing as “Aurora,” said the HUB counter-event exceeded his expectations. When told of the final attendance numbers for “Love is Louder” compared to Yiannopoulos, Watkins covered his mouth and whispered, “Oh my gosh.”“That makes me tear up almost,” he said. “Knowing I went to school at a place that is so forward-thinking and inclusive — I’m shocked so many people went tonight.”
Watkins’ friend, Derek Ulrich, a Penn State senior who performs as “Amethyst” and wore a green dress, said he couldn’t be happier with how it all turned out. “In my personal life, I’m going through a lot right now — and I really needed that tonight,” he added. “When I came out for my first number and people just yelled, it just made me feel comfortable that people were so supportive. It made me feel like I’m not just a number at Penn State. It felt nice.” The two said they weren’t sure what the reception on campus would be to them walking around in drag, whether Yiannopoulos supporters might shout insults, but they said that wasn’t an issue. Likewise, they said they couldn’t even remember anyone mentioning Yiannopoulos during the course of the night. “Love is Louder” was truly about love and not just hating on the hate, they added.
As an employee at the Gender Equity Center, Sophie Kandler was there for the entirety of the four-hour event. She saw at least one Uncensored America member come early for free pizza — “We welcome everybody because we know what it’s like not to be welcomed,” she added — and she said the Penn State community showed her a lot Wednesday night, more than she ever expected. “As a transgender woman, it shows me that love is stronger than hate,” she said. “The person they brought to campus today — who has a First Amendment right to be here — he’s about hate. He’s all about controversy; that’s what he does. This is about love. Not everybody in that room, maybe 10%, were gay or LGBT. Most of the people in that room were allies, people who came to show support, to show that love conquers hate, that a positive event will draw people. “That was the whole point — we wanted to do something happy. And it was.”
This was written by BY JOSH MOYER
Read the Full Article at: https://www.centredaily.com/news/local/education/penn-state/article255456536.html