- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Students at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, protested lesbian film director Kimberly Peirce during a recent screening of her groundbreaking 1999 film “Boys Don’t Cry,” accusing her of profiting off the plights of trans people.

The film about the 1993 rape and murder of Brandon Teena, a 21-year-old trans man, won multiple awards, including an Oscar for actress Hilary Swank. But a handful of students at Reed College protested an appearance last month by Ms. Peirce, the film’s lesbian and self-described “gender-fluid” writer and director, for alleged transphobia, Reason reported.

Ms. Peirce’s screening and subsequent lecture were met with signs bearing profanity-laced attacks, and her talk was disrupted by protesters, Reed magazine reported.

According to Jack Halberstam, a University of Southern California professor, student protestors had removed posters that advertised the event from all around campus and put up their own posters in place. In a blog post, Mr. Halberstam posted photos of the posters that read, “You don’t f—ing get it!” and “F— Your Transphobia!” A sign on the podium where Ms. Peirce was to speak read, “F— this cis white b—!!” Mr. Halberstam said.

The protesters waited until after the film had screened before interrupting Ms. Peirce’s lecture, ultimately forcing her to leave the room. Rules were established for the discussion and Ms. Peirce briefly returned to the room, only to be shouted down again, Campus Reform reported.

Students criticized Ms. Peirce for making money off a movie about trans people while not being trans herself and attacked her for casting Ms. Swank, a straight woman, to play a trans man, Mr. Halberstam said.

Reed President John Kroger, in response to the event, stated, “expressing dissenting viewpoints is central to intellectual debate, as is made clear in Reed’s dissent policy. All views, however, must be expressed in a way that does not deliberately obstruct others from sharing their ideas. Such conduct has no place at Reed College,” Reed magazine reported.

Reed’s dean of the faculty, Nigel Nicholson, issued a statement to the campus community in the student newspaper, Reed College Quest, rebuking the protesters’ actions.

“The atmosphere was intensely hostile. The principle that a speaker, any speaker, should be treated with respect was explicitly rejected,” he wrote. “I was deeply embarrassed and ashamed of our conduct, and I hope that as a community we can reflect on what happened and make a determination not to repeat it.

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