Appalachian State students plan to protest Michael Brown, a conservative activist giving a speech on campus, Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Brown was listed on the “30 New Activists heading up the radical right,” by the Southern Poverty Law Center and has a history of speaking out against the LGBTQ community according to GLAAD.
According to a flyer for the event, Brown is coming to the Plemmons Student Union to hold a “Homosexuality Event,” about the “Christian Mistreatment of homosexuality.”
The students’ protest is set to be located between Belk Library and Information Commons and the university bookstore.
Avery Walter, a senior psychology major, director of social sustainability and director of Appalachian Social Justice Educators, said that Brown’s hate speech goes beyond the First Amendment.
“As a black, queer and genderqueer person, it really would be a disservice to myself and to my community to stand by silently as this man comes to campus and says very violent language,” Walter said. “We’re not going to tolerate it. It’s just as simple as that. This is our campus.”
Walter also said that they have been working with the LGBT Center on campus, and that they definitely recognize the impact of these words.
“Folks are ready and willing to make a statement on Tuesday,” Walter said. “Folks are really mobilized, really inspired.”
An App student who has chosen to remain anonymous released a statement Sunday in which they said “Michael L. Brown, actively condemns LGBTQ folks with his rhetoric,” and requested that the university begin to vet the speakers which it allows onto campus.
Both Walter and the anonymous student said that the event might lure in unsuspecting students who are trying to be educated on the relationship between religion and sexual orientation.
Walter said that students should not attend the event due to the misleading nature of Brown’s message, but should instead use this time to listen to marginalized societies on campus for direction.
“It comes down to standing up and fighting back,” Walter said.
According to the anonymous student’s statement, Brown’s rhetoric “hurts already marginalized populations on campus.”
“I encourage all of you to voice your concerns to the administration about this hateful rhetoric happening on campus,” the anonymous student said. “I also encourage you all to listen to the voices of the most marginalized when they tell you #hatehappenshere.”
The site Right Wing Watch has a page detailing Brown’s history with the LGBTQ community, linking to both past articles that Brown authored and past speaking events where Brown spoke out against the acceptance of LGBTQ people.
In 2016 on a program entitled “Up for Debate,” Brown said that Christians supporting LGBTQ individuals are “spreading poison in the body of Christ,” and that LGBTQ members are “fundamentally wrong, it’s fundamentally erroneous. The Bible explicitly says homosexual practice is contrary to God’s created orders.”
Ratio Christi, an on-campus group of Christian apologists which was founded on App’s campus, is hosting Brown in the Blue Ridge Ballroom of Plemmons Student Union. Brown’s speech will be happening after the protest at 8 p.m.
Story by Aidan Moyer, News Editor
Image Caption: Students’ social media response to Brown’s on-campus flyers
(This caption was added Feb. 13 at 12:11 a.m.)
Due to concerns of safety, a previous source has chosen to remain anonymous.
(This edit was added Feb. 13 at 12:26 a.m.)