Matt Walsh’s “What is A Woman” tour draws large audience, sparks protest on Quad

Matt Walsh, conservative commentator and columnist for The Daily Wire, visited the University on Thursday, Oct. 27 to present his “What is a Woman?” tour to students.  

Before the event 

The “What is a Woman?” event was organized by The University of Alabama’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative student organization affiliated with Young America’s Foundation.  

On Sept. 29, the Student Government Association approved $7,135.53 in funding for UA YAF to use to bring Walsh to campus. Some SGA senators as well as students expressed discontent with the decision to fund the event.  

The Crimson White received two letters from the editor one from the Leftist Collective in opposition of the event, and one from YAF supporting it. Both were published on The CW website on Oct. 21.  

YAF President Wyatt Eichholz previously told The Crimson White that the purpose of the event was to open discussion. 

“I understand that some people disagree with his views,” Eichholz said previously in an email. “In fact, it is precisely for that reason that we are opening up the event to Q&A, so that people who disagree will have an opportunity to learn more about Walsh’s beliefs.”   

Eichholz declined to speak in person with The CW about the event.  

Matt Walsh on campus 

On Thursday night, the event began with a screening of Walsh’s “What is a Woman?” documentary in North Lawn Hall at 5:30 p.m. This was followed by a brief speech by Walsh and a Q&A where viewers could ask questions and make comments about the film in the Math and Science Building at 8 p.m.  

Walsh’s film primarily discussed the legitimacy of the transgender community. The screening lasted about an hour and a half.  

After the documentary was shown, the Q&A commenced. Attendance for the Q&A filled the room to capacity, and security lined the building.  

Walsh said his mission is to tell the truth. 

“I care because the truth actually matters. The truth matters more than your ideology, it matters more than your preferences, it matters more than your feelings, and it matters more than your comfort. The truth matters more than anything. I care about the truth, and you should care about it too,” Walsh said during the event. 

His speech focused on the gender ideology movement, which Walsh said was especially a danger to children who are too young and innocent to make decisions.  

“Kids can’t choose to transition to other genders,” he said. “They cannot consent to being mutilated or drugged.”  

Walsh said doctors are affirming the anxieties and feelings of trans people to solely make money off them. He additionally focused his speech on what he views as common objections to his position against gender ideologies. 

One objection he addressed was the “leftist claim” that if trans people are not able to affirm themselves, they will commit suicide. Walsh said that childhood suicide problems are related to trans affirmation.

“Trans affirmation causes childhood suicide,” Walsh said.  

Students in attendance said they enjoyed the opportunity to see Walsh speak.  

“I came out to support Matt Walsh,” said Brandt Wiggins, a freshman majoring in political science. “I totally agree with what he said as a whole. We have to stick together as conservatives. My favorite part was how [Walsh said he] is not against government power to prevent surgeries.” 

Another student, McLain Woods, a student majoring in engineering, agreed. “I’ve heard of Matt Walsh. Everything he says is on point. I think conversation is important. We need to be having conversations and understanding people’s viewpoints.”  

A live taping of the event can be watched here. 

Students protest 

Also on Thursday evening, students gathered on the Quad at 5 p.m. with signs and LGBTQ+ pride clothing to participate in the “Stand Against Transphobia” protest. This was a joint event between the Queer Students Association, UA Democrats, Leftist Collective and Generation Action. 

Sen. Elizabeth Prophet, who represents the School of Social Work, said she supported the protest. 

“There is no reason that our Student Government Association should fund any politically affiliated student organizations, regardless of political belief. We are one of the only Student Government Associations in the SEC that funds politically affiliated student organizations,” Prophet said. “The hateful rhetoric that Matt Walsh is bringing to our campus not only goes against our Capstone Creed, but also the ideals our SGA is meant to uphold. I applaud the peaceful student protestors exercising their rights tonight.” 

Morgan Lloyd, a freshman majoring in business, expressed frustration about the SGA’s decision to provide funding for the event as well as Walsh’s presence. 

“I think the University hasn’t done its due diligence with educating the population that our funds go to clubs just like this,” Lloyd said. “I think they need to advertise that information more, so that we’re more inclined to get involved within SGA to stop funds being allocated to people who are against rights, and specifically human rights.” 

Matt Monahan, a local Tuscaloosa resident, spoke at length with some protestors. Later in the night, he was arrested by the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office for possession of a firearm. The charge is listed by the sheriff’s office as “permit to carry pistol.” 

Kayla Solino contributed to this story.