MADELINE RAINERI | News Editor
Students, professors, LGBTQ+ advocates and medical professionals alike gathered on Thursday evening to discuss the cancellation of Lindenwood’s TEDx event, which some have said was over the word transgender in a speech title.
The meeting, held at the Crooked Tree Coffee House on First Capitol Drive, was organized by members of the LGBTQ+ community. It aimed to discuss diversity and inclusion on campus and how the TEDx cancellation could impact members of the Lindenwood community who identify as non-cisgender.
“This is the new face of civil rights,” said Heather Brown-Hudson, an associate professor at Lindenwood, about normalizing and discussing the word “transgender.”
The TEDx talk that seems to be at the center of the controversy was slated to be given during the Jan. 18 event by Dr. Sarah Garwood, an associate professor in pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine who works with transgender youth.
Lindenwood officials have maintained that the event was canceled due to resource limitations, both financial and personnel. But several speakers involved in the planning of the event say concerns over the word “transgender” led to the event’s cancellation.
Those in attendance Thursday discussed their concerns about the lack of discourse between university officials and those within the Lindenwood community, especially surrounding the cancellation of the talks. Students questioned the accessibility of the administration and the apparent disconnect between the students, administrators and ultimately the board of directors.
“I’m paying my tuition, it’s expensive. They owe me an answer,” said Gina Sopuch, a graduate student at Lindenwood and a speaker scheduled to talk at the now-canceled TEDx event. “We deserve an answer.”
The event lasted for a little over an hour and ended with a sentiment from alumna Brigita Martin.
“Fear is contagious, but so is hope,” she said.
Video by Kayla Drake | Multimedia Producer