★ 1. Trans advocates call Hirsh Singh harmful, we defend him ★

Some didn't want Hirsh Singh to be heard on campus, citing being uncomfortable (1). A quick and witty response was made (2), which they didn't like (3). So we stood by our principles and defended Singh (4), a quick swipe was made (5), and we thanked them and free speech (6).

Red is MSOI, blue is non-MSOI challengers, green is non-MSOI observers.

To whom it may concern,

While I am a firm believer in fostering diverse perspectives, it is crucial to consider the impact of such speakers, especially during a week dedicated to raising awareness about the transgender community.

I appreciate your group's firm belief in avoiding entrapment within political echo chambers, but Singh's views, as outlined on his website, appear to be not just conservative but actively harmful, particularly towards transgender individuals. The content of his message goes beyond mere political disagreement to directly target a marginalized community that already faces significant challenges and discrimination.

Allow me to emphasize the potential harm that can arise from hosting a speaker who holds anti-trans views. Transgender individuals, many of whom struggle for acceptance and understanding, may find Singh's rhetoric deeply distressing. This invitation is entirely dismissive of all the work that those of us involved in LGBTQ+ advocacy at MIT put in to create a campus environment that is inclusive and supportive for all students, regardless of their gender identity.

Moreover, I would like to draw attention to the real-world consequences of the stigmatization of gender-affirming care. By dismissing life-saving interventions as "mutilation," Singh contributes to the harmful narrative that, every day, dissuades individuals from seeking necessary medical care. This is not just a matter of political opinion; it directly affects the well-being and, in some cases, the *lives* of our fellow students.

In the spirit of promoting constructive dialogue/discourse, I encourage us to consider alternative voices that can contribute to meaningful discussions without marginalizing or endangering any particular group. While I respect and myself espouse the value of engaging with those opinions whose opinions differ from one's own, it is equally important to prioritize the well-being and safety of our community members.

I urge the organizers at MITSOI to engage in a more thoughtful selection of speakers in the future. Our campus should be a space where all students feel respected, heard, and supported.

*Happy Trans Week of Visibility.*

Maybe don't go then?

The issue is not that one just shouldn't go if they disagree. The issue is that these policies and rhetoric are harming a group of people and making them feel unsafe for simply existing, and we should not entertain beliefs that perpetuate the marginalization of our fellow humans.

I am all for freedom of speech; it is a necessity for social and political progress. However, that does not mean one is exempt from the consequences of their words. Singh may have every right to take his stance on trans rights and legislation in the United States, but that doesn't mean we have to platform such beliefs. In fact, I would argue that it is our moral obligation to not platform people whose speech promotes harm against another group of people.

Would you say the same about platforming someone holding racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, etc. views? What makes this any different?


Dear MITers,

To those who are curious, Hirsh Singh was nothing but insightful and civil. In his speech, he discussed his personal journey inside and outside the political world. In the Q&A, the audience and Singh engaged in great dialogue on fiscal and foreign policy. In fact, some attendees who didn't share the same political views as Singh asked excellent probing questions, leading to back-and-forth discussions that uncovered arguments for both sides. Singh did not utter a word of "hatred" or promote anything remotely similar to what some have expressed concerns about.

We are proud to choose Singh. Discomfort does not justify cancellation. The spirit of free speech does not admit any compromise, barring extreme cases of violence and incitement of immediate lawlessness as opined by the Supreme Court in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969). We remain steadfast in this spirit and will never back down.

MIT Students for Open Inquiry

The spirit of free speech does not admit any compromise to us letting you know we think your speaker choice is shit in poor taste <3

With Regards,

bcc'ed to dorms, MIT-Students-for-Openly-Calling-Out-Hate-Purple for bc-talk

Thanks for exercising your free speech!

bcc'ed to dorms, patriotic purple for bc-talk