Commonwealth Policy Center

Author and journalist Abigail Shrier spoke at the University of Virginia on what she calls a “trans[gender] epidemic” among teenage girls. Several students listened to her lecture and asked questions, but over one hundred others remained outside and tried to shout down her message, calling her hateful and transphobic. One student accused Shrier of not respecting transgender people. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution benefits all of us. But when college students would rather label others than learn, and shout down other views rather than listen, there’s a problem. Universities are supposed to be places of listening and truth-seeking, but shouting down an opposing viewpoint is the definition of close-minded. Calling an author names rather than engaging with her ideas isn’t respectful and doesn’t further anyone’s understanding. It short-circuits it.