A federal judge has sided with a Christian activist who was banned from the University of Wyoming campus for calling a transgender student “male.”
The transgender student was a biological male.
Last week, the U.S. District Court in Wyoming sided with Todd Schmidt and issued a preliminary injunction stopping the university from banning him while the trial proceeds.
Schmidt is an elder at Laramie Faith Community Church and frequently has a table on campus to speak to students.
The Epoch Times reports, “On Dec. 2 2022, Mr. Schmidt set up a table in the UW student union with a sign that read, ‘God created male and female and Artemis Langford is a male.’ Mr. Langford is a transgender student who joined the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority earlier that year, prompting members to sue the national Greek organization for admitting a biological male into the all-female group.”
When a school official asked Schmidt to remove the student’s name from the sign, he refused. He later compiled when the official threatened to call the police to have him arrested for trespassing.
“I’m just trying to tell the truth and bring people to God. That’s all there is. There are not any more genders than that. Biology teaches everybody about that,” Schmidt said, according to a report from the student newspaper Branding Iron, where Langford is a reporter.
The university imposed a one-year sanction on Schmidt, banning him from reserving a table in the student union.
School officials sent out a campus-wide email saying the activist “violated the university policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment,” noting that “a line was crossed when a student was harassed by name.”
In his lawsuit, Schmidt argued that the school is violating his First Amendment right.
U.S. Senior District Judge Nancy Freudenthal agreed that Schmidt had a right to name the student.
“Schmidt’s speech was expressive, with the intent to convey a particular message,” the judge wrote, according to the Epoch Times report. “Schmidt mentions Artemis Langford by name, but that is unavoidable, as the debate revolves around the propriety of a particular biological male participating in an activity—joining a sorority—traditionally reserved for biological females.”
The judge wrote that the sign was not “harassment” or “discrimination” but “debate about gender identity, a matter of public importance.”
“Schmidt does not misgender Langford to denigrate her, but to debate a public issue,” she ruled.
“This is particularly true on college campuses because they are the ‘marketplace of ideas.’ While elementary and public schools prioritize the inculcation of social values, universities seek to encourage inquiry and the challenging of a priori assumptions,” Judge Freudenthal added. “Therefore, this Court finds that Schmidt’s speech is protected free expression and not harassment or discriminatory conduct.”
The university has said that it will comply with the judge’s order.