“Children should feel safe to tell their parents they’re gay!” a masked protester shouted on Wednesday during a screening of Art Club, produced by anti-trans activist Erin Lee and former Colorado lawmaker Kevin Lundberg.

The auditorium seated around 40 students, many of whom were holding protest signs, waving pride flags, and demanding accessibility be taken into account when told the eighty-minute film would have no closed captioning or subtitles.

Outside of the room, close to 100 students chanted, “Trans rights are human rights,” and “Shame on you!”

Mason Wageman, a DU student, spoke about why they were protesting the event: “This won’t be a fun or easy night. I did research before coming, and it’s important that I’m here.” 

Another student protester, who gave their name as Julia, had similar views, “Trans kids are part of the community [University of Denver] and we’re here to support them.” 

Lee and Lundberg were invited to show the film and answer questions Wednesday at the behest of the student organization Turning Point U.S.A., a right-wing group on the college campus. 

Lee came to public attention in Colorado in 2021 when she and another family sued the Poudre School District (PSD) over a meeting of the school’s Gender and Sexualities Alliance. The families claimed that their parental rights were being violated by PSD, but a judge eventually ruled against Lee


Prior to the event, two PhD candidates with the Iliff School of Theology, Sho McClarence and David Kemp organized the gathering of over 600 signatures in a petition, expressing their concerns over the film and Lee visiting the campus.

“We worried that the event violated both the honor code and the 4D experience,” said Kemp. The 4D experience that Kemp was referring to is an initiative by the university to reinforce four tenets including: advancing intellectual growth, pursuing careers & lives of purpose, promoting well-being, and exploring character. “And this speaker has a history of being anti-science and perpetuating hate speech,” said Kemp.

The president of the University of Denver Turning Point Chapter, Max Roybal, when asked about the petition and sentiments on campus, responded, “I am aware there is some opposition on campus and I sympathize with them. I support their right to do so. I hope that is mutual.” 

Lee declined to speak to the Colorado Times Recorder but posted on her Instagram story three videos showing students chanting while she was escorted from the University by security. 

Lee added the following comment on her videos: “Last night reminded me how lost & misguided so much of Gen Z is. Yes, hundreds of protestors threatened me and disrupted my turningpointUSA event. But positive conversations & important dialogue also happened. Changing hearts & challenging gender ideology isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. (And transtifa doesn’t scare me).”

Related: Two Anti-Trans Ballot Measures Rejected by CO Title Board; Could Be Ineligible for 2024 Ballot

Lundberg commented on the event in the latest edition of his newsletter, the Lundberg Report: “About 60 students were allowed in the classroom, but hundreds remained outside in the hallway. The students chanted pro-transgender slogans, beat their fists on the tables, held up protest signs and loudly reacted to nearly every phrase in the film with what they thought were smart responses of protest. It was an extraordinary evening that did not show very well for the tolerance, intellectual prowess or just plain civilized understanding of these DU students. I have heard of over-the-top reactions on college campuses, but this was my biggest firsthand experience with this peculiar and dangerous attitude that seems to be growing on college campuses.”

Since the protest last Wednesday, the petition has gained over a thousand signatures, including that of CO State Representative, Steven Woodrow. 

Related: Ballot Initiatives Target Transgender Students