UConn Cancels Comedian Over Remarks on Transgender Children

Comedian Owen Benjamin didn't even make the remarks as part of his official comedy routine.

By Rachel Alexander Published on October 8, 2017

The University of Connecticut canceled a comedian’s appearance because he doesn’t believe allegedly transgender young children should receive hormone blockers. The drugs stop the child from going through puberty.

A college student asked Owen Benjamin during a speech what he thought of NPR host Jesse Thorn allowing his three-year-old child to choose its own gender. Benjamin called Thorn a “child abuser.”

Benjamin expressed his opposition to a three-year-old being given hormone blockers.

Benjamin reiterated his position on Twitter. He tweeted several times, “You are supporting a 3 yr old child in diapers choosing gender which will lead to hormone blockers. Publicly I want this noted.”

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The university’s Student Union Board of Governors canceled his October 25th show. SUBG condemned him for using social media “to express [his] views on certain marginalized communities.” They claimed his tweets “became increasingly negative in sentiment.” SUBG “does not believe that this comedian will garner the attendance of undergraduate students on the night of the event.”

Benjamin says he favors trans rights. He said at a recent event, “Being in favor of trans rights does not make you a liberal, which I am, I’m in favor of trans rights.” But he drew a line, “Am I in favor of preventing an 8-year-old from going through puberty because they want to wear a dress? Of course not. I’m so against that.”

A Dangerous Experiment

Many doctors believe puberty blockers will harm the children who get them. Three scientists objected in a paper titled “Growing Pains: Problems with Puberty Suppression in Treating Gender Dysphoria” in the journal The New Atlantis.

In World magazine’s summary, the scientists challenge three claims. First, they argue that it remains unknown whether the treatment is reversible. Second, they challenge the notion that the treatment is harmless.

Finally, they do not believe it is merely “cautionary,” begun in case the child decides to changes his sex. In fact, they found that “hormone therapy often solidifies a child’s gender dysphoria.” It drives him or her to persist in identifying as transgender. “It doesn’t allow for the likely result: growing out of it.” This is concerning, since the vast majority of children with gender dysphoria grow out of it by the time they reach adulthood.

The vast majority of children with gender dysphoria grow out of it by the time they reach adulthood.

Benjamin wasn’t going to give a partisan lecture. He was merely going to perform a comedy routine. But because school left didn’t like comments he’d made previously, they canceled his comedy routine. Those comments were in response to a question, not part of his regular show.

Several well-known comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, have said that censorship on colleges campuses has made performing even comedy difficult. “There’s a creepy PC thing out there that really bothers me,” he told Seth Meyers on Late Night.

When will higher ed stop being scared and start supporting free speech and encourage debate? Maybe U.S. News and World Report should add to their college ratings, “How committed is XX university to free speech?” Sadly, this type of censorship is starting to take place all around the country. It is usually directed at those on the right. Speech from prominent conservatives that the left-wing dominated universities don’t agree with is being shut out.

Benjamin has continued tweeting about the incident, defending his description of using hormone blockers on children as child abuse. The university said it will still pay him $7,500, honoring a cancelation clause in the booking agreement.

Follow Rachel on Twitter at Rach_IC.

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