In a new man-on-the-street video (below), Austen Fletcher (“Fleccas”) went to a student protest against bestselling author and Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles over his speech titled “Men Are Not Women” at Kennesaw State University on Monday. Though Fletcher was repeatedly shut down by protest organizers, who told fellow activists not to “engage” with anyone who questioned their cause, he managed to talk with several.
Among the anti-Knowles/pro-trans activists’ comments were defenses of “transitioning” young children using hormone therapy and irreversible surgery and an adamant defense of violence as a “useful political tool.” Some of the activists also admitted to not knowing much — at all — about Knowles.
As reported by The Daily Wire earlier this week, a pair of student activist groups, Kennesaw State United and Kennesaw Pride, organized a protest ahead of Knowles “transphobic” speech hosted by Young Americans for Freedom. In a Facebook post, the groups spelled out the rules of engagement, including “minimizing[ing] interactions” with “transphobes, white supremacists, and others” who might question their agenda:
There is a possibility that transphobes, white supremacists, and others may approach. If approached, please minimize your interactions with them for your own safety and everybody else’s. If you’re comfortable, however, you may engage in productive conversation away from others as to not disrupt the positive space.
Fletcher found a lot of anti-free speech sentiment among the protesters.
When Fletcher asked one student if he thinks Knowles should be allowed to speak on campus, he said, “No,” explaining, “I don’t think hate speech is free speech.” When Fletcher asked if he had ever watched one of Knowles’ videos, the student admitted he had not.
Another male student explained, when asked by Fletcher, why he was protesting Knowles that while he “doesn’t know much” about Knowles, he “saw the line ‘Men Are Not Women'” and the tagline about “propaganda from the left” on a poster.
While the student was speaking with Fletcher, one of the apparent organizers of the event came up to remind him that they “are not encouraging engagement” with people who do not embrace their agenda. “I understand,” said the guy. “He’s an adult,” added Fleccas.
When Fletcher asked the male student, “Do you disavow Antifa?” he replied, “No, god no.” Fletcher responded by asking about “the violence they do.”
“I think that violence is a useful political tool,” the student said, adding “if wielded in the proper fashion.” He also admitted that “collateral damage happens,” calling it “a shame.”
When Fletcher got the student to admit he had never watched a video of Knowles and was responding entirely to a poster he saw, Fletcher asked how he could be “okay with political violence” to shut him down. “No, I’ve been okay with political violence before I knew who this guy was,” the activist said.
Fletcher also managed to get some of the activists to explain their stance on “transitioning” young children.
“Do you think when it comes to children transitioning there should be … an age limit when a child is able to receive hormone therapy or transition surgery?” Fletcher asked one female activist.
“No, I do not,” she said. “I feel like if they have a medical diagnosis and this is who they are then that’s what needs to happen for them.”
An older activist slammed Fletcher for even asking her a similar question, suggesting it was not an adult’s business what children decide to do.
Another student defended children going through transitional therapy and surgery by saying that they are being guided by doctors and social workers.
The guy who previously espoused violence as “useful” said that “studies” show children can form a gender identity as young as “3 or 4.” While he expressed sympathy for those who push back against permanent “transition” changes in kids, he added, “I mean, I’m not going to tell [the kids] what to do.”
Fleccas’ video also highlights how frequently his attempts to talk with protesters was shut down by the protest organizers, who repeatedly tell their fellow activists that they should not engage with him. They also tell him that some of the space is their designated space and he’s not allowed there.
“You can interview people, you just can’t be here,” said one of the activists, to which Fleccas noted that he is simply going up to “adults” and asking if they want to talk. “You guys don’t speak for other people,” said Fletcher.
Not everyone there was anti-free speech, including one self-described libertarian trans student, who said he was against what the activists were doing.
“Being trans is pretty socially acceptable now, as it should be,” said the student. “But if you are a straight, white guy, you’re silenced. You’re not allowed to voice your opinion.”