Public univ used student money to fund transgender celebrity Chaz Bono's on-campus speech

Timothy Dionisopoulos
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Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) apparently used student fees to bring famous LGBT activist and transgender Chaz Bono to campus for their “Spring Out” event on Tuesday.

Bono’s speech was partially funded by student fees according to a Facebook page for the event.

According to the event’s Facebook pageBono’s appearance was partially sponsored with the MTSU Student Activity Fee, which amounts to $20 per student per semester, according to the school webpage.  Ten other co-sponsor organizations also contributed to the event, according to the page.

Bono is the only child of popular music performers Sonny Bono and Cher, and a female to male transsexual who has become a public spokesperson for LGBT issues and activism.

Bono’s speech is part of MTSU’s 10th Annual Pride Week which also includes Outtapalooza, a Drag Show, and an LGBTQ religious panel.

Joshua Rigsby, the President of MT Lambda, a gay rights organization at MTSU, said he saw Bono’s appearance as critical for raising the profile and defending the rights of transgender people living in Tennessee.

The small transgender community in Tennessee is discriminated against and individuals are often “beaten up, hospitalized and sometimes murdered because their driver’s license reflects a sex that does not match what they are,” according to Rigsby.

Rigsby said he believes that Tennessee state officials have ignored pleas to change this law and that Bono’s appearance could “bring a heavier focus to this.”

“His [Chaz Bono’s] lecture will be focused on his transition and he’s going to highlight some of the hardships that transgender people face in Tennessee,” Rigsby told Campus Reform. “We are one of the only states in the country where there are laws on the books preventing transgender individuals from changing the sex on their birth certificate” said Rigsby.

Seventy two students RSVP’d for the event which was free and open to the public.

Follow the author of this article: @TimPDion.

Timothy Dionisopoulos

Timothy Dionisopoulos

Reporter

Tim Dionisopoulos is a reporter for LI's Campus Reform and works as a communications editor in LI’s Campus Leadership Program.

Tim has been with LI's Campus Reform since the summer of 2011, and his stories have been cited or re-posted on the Daily Mail, the Drudge Report, Fox News, and other national media outlets.

Tim graduated in 2011 from Providence College in Rhode Island where he was politically active on campus and in the community.

 

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