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Point of View — Episode 3: Battling Transphobia at the U

In this episode, Opinion Desk Assistant Editor Morgan Champine joins us to give their thoughts on recent transphobic incidents they have seen around campus.
Madelyn Foulger
(Design by Madelyn Foulger | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


Stevie Shaughnessey: Hi and welcome back to Point of View, The Daily Utah Chronicle’s Opinion Podcast. My name is Stevie, and I’ll be your host. Today, we have Opinion Desk Assistant Editor Morgan Champine on to talk about their story regarding recent transphobic incidents at the [University of Utah]. Hi Morgan, and welcome to the podcast!

Morgan Champine: Hi Stevie. Happy to be back.

Stevie Shaughnessey: So, when did you start to notice transphobic incidents on campus and can you give examples?

Morgan Champine: So, in my opinion, casual transphobia is like a day-to-day on the U’s campus. There are classes and sports that are split by men’s and women’s, and casual misgendering happens like every day. But while I’ve attended the university, the biggest incident of transphobia, in my experience, that I’ve seen and covered first occurred with the Young Americans for Freedom’s screening of the film “Damaged,” which covers dangerous misinformation and myths around transitioning. The posters they posted around campus advertising the watch party included slogans such as “The transgender agenda harms women” and “The transgender agenda harms children.” From there, YAF planned an event called “Transitioner Jeopardy” which never ended up occurring, but the plan of making a trivia game out of people’s lives is inherently, in my opinion, transphobic. 

Stevie Shaughnessey: How has the U responded to these transphobic events on campus?

Morgan Champine: Here’s where things get complicated. As journalists, it’s critical we seek to understand all parts and sides of the story. I believe there is only so much the U can do, as freedom of speech is a right we all have. However, as I’ve said in my articles on the recent transphobic events, in my opinion, the U needs to do more. When Mecha protested against the transphobic events YAF was holding, the U decided to withdraw their sponsorship of Mecha, accusing the group of denying the freedom of speech rights of others. People are welcome to their freedom of speech and their opinions; they always are and always should be. But freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. When groups like YAF decide to spread hate and harmful propaganda, people are going to speak up against it. Many U organizations have released statements saying they support trans students, specifically OneUThriving, in which the organization said they support fostering an “inclusive” campus. Inclusivity cannot exist, in my opinion, on a campus where students of color and transgender students are demonized for speaking up against bigotry. The U needs to denounce bigotry. If the U wants to treat Mecha like a group of criminals, which they have, as multiple charges have been delivered to members, they need to treat YAF the same way. And in my opinion, it’s very damning which group of students has been criminalized. Not the majority white, conservative, straight cisgender students, but the student group that’s led by students of color and queer students. 

Stevie Shaughnessey: And you mentioned a few ways that the U has responded to these incidents. In your opinion, why do you think the U is behaving the way they are towards trans students?

Morgan Champine: So I think we live in a divided society, and trans issues are one of the most hot-button political topics right now in my opinion. I imagine it’s very difficult for the U administration to staunchly pick a side, knowing the hate that exists on both sides. There’s so much animosity that comes from both sides, and for a university that, in my opinion, is attempting to stay more moderate on the issues, the U probably doesn’t want to pick a side. But I seriously denounce this, because by refusing to put their support behind trans students, the U has picked a side, whatever their intentions may be. 

Stevie Shaughnessey: How have students responded to the U’s actions?

Morgan Champine: The student backlash has been swift and brutal. Students came out to protest almost all of YAF’s events, including the Chloe Cole talk and the screening of the film “Damaged.” They made posters, practiced chants and supported each other to the best of their abilities. Some student organizations have also posted slogans supporting trans folk, like the Women’s Resource Center and the LGBT Resource Center in direct opposition, opposition to YAF’s slogans. 

Stevie Shaughnessey: What can students do to show their support for trans students here on campus?

Morgan Champine: Yeah, so, the best way to be an ally to your trans peers is to stand up for them. Attend rallies. Speak up for them in class. Introduce yourself with your pronouns, put them on your social media, in your Canvas username. When it’s scary for your trans peers to stand up for themselves, stand up for them. You can’t be a bystander in situations like this. Every voice matters, professors, students, clubs, administration, student government. Don’t be afraid to correct yourself and correct others. Don’t be afraid to learn, and do research on trans people. Don’t be afraid to have open dialogues. We’re all a community here. 

Stevie Shaughnessey: Great. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Morgan. Do you have any final thoughts?

Morgan Champine: Yeah. At the Chloe Cole Detransitioning Event on Nov. 30, which I attended, I spoke to a girl named Emma Reed. She was there offering a perspective on transitioning, as someone who transitioned and is happy, and something she said has really stuck with me. She said, “YAF is all human too, we’re all human too. Why are they spending effort on something that inadvertently hurts their peers?” And I can’t stop thinking about it. And something that’s stuck with me seeing, since seeing YAF’s “The transgender movement harms children” posters is that I was a trans child. My journey to my identity wasn’t an easy one, but the transgender movement didn’t harm me. The people who harmed me were those who were transphobic and targeted me because I identify as transgender. We are all human. Asking for basic respect is not too much to ask. I am not brainwashed. I wasn’t groomed. I am trans and a human and a writer and a friend and a sister and someone’s kid and someone’s best friend. I love vanilla ice cream and I procrastinate on my homework and I go to concerts, just like all of you. We’re all human. Try and remember that.  

Stevie Shaughnessey: Great, well thank you so much for your insight, Morgan.

Stevie Shaughnessey: Thank you for listening to Point of View, The Daily Utah Chronicle’s Opinion Podcast. Stay tuned for new episodes each month.


Transcribed by

Producer and Host: Stevie Shaughnessey — [email protected]   | @steviechrony

Guest: Morgan Champine — [email protected] | @MorganChampine

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About the Contributors
Stevie Shaughnessey, Home Stretch Producer, Host
Stevie is a junior transfer student at the U who is majoring in communications with an emphasis in journalism, and minoring in documentary studies. In her free time, Stevie likes to take part in many different activities, such as dirt bike riding, snowboarding and photography.
Morgan Champine, Assistant Opinion Editor
(they/them) Morgan Champine is pursuing a career in creative writing and majoring in English. Morgan was born and raised in Utah, and when they're not writing, they're attending concerts, exploring the outdoors, and reading.
Madelyn Foulger, Social Media Manager, Design Contributer
Madelyn started at the Chronicle in 2022 as a social media contributor and designer before becoming Social Media Manager in May 2023. She's majoring in film and media arts with a minor in human rights and resources. Madelyn enjoys various creative pursuits, including writing, illustration, design, film, and photography.

Comments (1)

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    John HedbergJan 26, 2024 at 1:05 pm

    A large and growing number of post-surgical transgender persons are realizing in retrospect that they were not feeling at home in their own body for reasons which had nothing to do with gender, and now that they’ve chosen irreversible removal of body organs that can never be replaced (for instance, they can never have children), there have been a growing number of suicides reported by the leading transgender institutes in Europe, which are a few years ahead of this country when it comes to treating true gender dysphoria. My question is why some of you are apparently so transphobic that you deny, suppress, and refuse to inclusively #Listen to the diverse lived experiences of suffering people whose feelings may differ from your own, by showing them empathy and compassion as if you value their humanity the same way you value others. Why do you devalue the humanity of these transgender people whose experience may be diverse from your own?

    YAF did not speak hatefully to ‘all trans people’ just because they allowed Chloe Cole and others to speak their lived experiences of what happens when surgery and hormone blockers turn out to be the wrong answer for someone not feeling at home in their own body. There are other reasons besides gender that can cause individuals to not feel at home in themselves, and so showing the consequences when people choose permanent bodily changes which cannot be reversed, who find out later that this was not the correct treatment to help them, seems like very basic due diligence in assisting every person to make the best (most compassionate) choice for themselves given their own circumstances.

    People with male genitalia (no matter how they identify) should not be sharing bathrooms or changing spaces with people with female genitalia. It’s important to respect the feelings and safety of trans individuals, and it’s just as important to respect the feelings and safety of every other person in the room, since suppressing and dehumanizing anyone’s well-being can cause anguish and suicidal feelings, no matter how these persons identify: that’s humanity which we all share equally, which is why it’s important that everyone’s rights and well-being are considered and weighed with the equal caring value for each person impacted, every single individual person. (#Listen to women’s voices, with respect)

    No one gets precedence. Otherwise, someone is being systematically devalued and dehumanized as if they have less value, which is morally wrong and reprehensible, like saying bigotry is right, when we all acknowledge that hatred of any human being is wrong. No exceptions, and everyone’s value is equally represented and considered.

    Mecha attempts to silence and suppress the voices of trans individuals like Chloe Cole and others whose lived experiences don’t agree with their feelings, like saying only the feelings of those who agree with Mecha have value, or more to the point, only the human beings who agree with Mecha’s feelings have equal human value in the eyes of Mecha. They shout about hatred and bigotry being wrong in the middle of practicing hateful bigoted silencing of trans voices they disagreed with at the YAF event. Now, some of the same “activists” are hatefully marginalizing the voices of women who don’t feel safe changing or sharing a restroom with people who have male genitalia, no matter how they identify (it’s not a trans issue). Isn’t the definition of hypocrisy to dehumanize innocent others for hateful behavior which you’re actually practicing yourself?

    To respect everyone’s humanity and dignity, without question, everyone should be allowed to use public restrooms, but people with male genitalia (trans or otherwise) should not be allowed to share bathrooms or changing spaces with people with female genitalia, since this protects and respects the safety and well-being of everyone equally. Is it so hard to respect everyone’s feelings as if their humanity and concerns are equal to your own? This is basic Sesame Street stuff~!

    Is it really disrespecting your safety and feelings to equally respect the safety and feelings of everyone else involved, because if it is, this may not be a problem with the culture so much as a problem of individual maturity, respect, and considerate compassion being weighed on everyone’s behalf, because the consequences are the same, no matter which human being they’re affecting, and how is your humanity more valuable than others: it’s certainly not less, and we all agree on that.