University rejects Gay Lives Matter poster promoting guest speaker


DePaul Turning Point USA (DTPUSA) hosted  author and journalist Jamie Kirchick for a speech entitled “Dicatorships and Radical Islam: Enemies of LGBTQ Rights” May 10. Kirchick, who has been published in the Atlantic, Wall Street Journal and more works to highlight how the LGBTQ community is marginalized and persecuted in foreign nations abiding by Sharia law principles.

To promote the event, DTPUSA proposed a Gay Lives Matter poster using the iconic Black Lives Matter (BLM) logo. The poster was denied approval by the DePaul administration.

Matt Lamb, a spokesperson for Turning Point USA and advisor of the group’s DePaul chapter, believed refusing the BLM poster was an infringement of free speech rights and an overstep by the university.

“The administration just decided for Black Lives Matter that they don’t like the (use of) the logo but its pretty common to use similar imagery, to play off common themes to get a message across,” Lamb said.

Lamb also said that the use of BLM imagery makes sense considering the issue Kirchick speech was highlighting.

“(The speech was) basically (about) the way Islam is distorted by countries to justify execution and imprisonment,” Lamb said. “That’s why it said Gay Lives Matter. The same way Black Lives Matter wants to call attention to what they feel is unfair treatment, police brutality against African Americans, we wanted to say, ‘Hey, there’s also this oppression of people that are gay under radical Islam and other (authoritarian regimes like in) Russia.”

DePaul officials denying the Gay Lives Matter poster echoes a similar situation in which the DePaul College Republicans had a All Lives Matter poster promoting their organization and its pro-life values refused in October 2016.

The university did not respond to a request for comment on the Gay Lives Matter poster, but released a statement following the All Lives Matter poster’s denial last October.

“In making this decision, we looked no further than the university’s Guiding Principles for Speech and Expression which note a ‘distinction between being provocative and being hurtful,’” the statement said. “The principles also state that ‘speech whose primary purpose is to wound is inconsistent with our Vincentian and Catholic Values.’ The proposed banner was, at best deceptive, and the words, font, colors and design were clearly intended to do a disservice to the Black Lives Matter and pro-life movements. The students submitted an alternative banner that was approved.”

John Minster expressed surprise to the poster’s rejection similar to Lamb’s when interviewed about the matter in October 2016.

“We were upset and surprised,” Minster said. “We were surprised because while we understand where (the administration is) coming from, given the issue (and) given the problems we’ve already had with speech at the school, we assumed that given it’s just a poster this wouldn’t be an issue. (We thought) this is something that they would say, ‘OK, fine.’ They might not agree with it, they might not like it, but given the sort of pro-life values behind it we thought it would be fine. And obviously we thought wrong.”

According to Lamb, this incident is a first for DTPUSA but common in other chapters of the organization.

“Our Turning Point Chapter at DePaul has not faced similar controversy but certainly our chapters elsewhere have had trouble getting approved for the club and free speech (issues),” Lamb said. “But the DePaul  chapter hasn’t faced any trouble with the administration (before this poster issue) as far as I know.”