The Volokh Conspiracy

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Free Speech

Jesse Singal's Talk on Youth Gender Medicine at UCLA School of Law Now on YouTube


I was out of town, or else I'd have much enjoyed being there as well; but I'm very glad it took place, thanks to the newly formed UCLA chapter of Heterodox Academy. I am told there were no disruptions.

Some UCLA student groups condemned the event, saying they were "disappointed by UCLA's decision to allow [the] event," offering some substantive criticisms of Singal's position, and saying "Public debate is important, but we cannot debate people's humanity. Transgender students should be able to attend class without having to hear their very existence debated in an adjacent classroom."

I don't think anything Singal said suggested he cast any doubt on transgender people's "humanity," or suggested that they should not or do not "exist[]." But whatever one might think about that, UCLA had no option but to "allow" the event: As a public institution that has opened up a limited public forum for events put on by various groups (whether student groups or, as with the Heterodox Academy chapter, faculty groups), UCLA is forbidden by the First Amendment from excluding speakers based on their viewpoints and (to quote the condemnation, "dangerous ideas"), whether on youth gender medicine or on other topics.