Editorial | 3 candidates Michael Knowles wouldn’t debate


Image via Wikimedia Commons

Michael Knowles speaking with attendees at the 2022 AmericaFest at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

After transgender scholar Deirdre McCloskey dropped out of an on-campus debate against Michael Knowles, a conservative political commentator who has received enough attention on campus for a lifetime in the past few weeks, organizers for the event scrambled to find a replacement. 

Although the Intercollegiate Studies Institute found a new debate participant — someone who describes himself as a “libertarian-conservative journalist” — it’s unclear why a hateful and ignorant transphobe who calls for the eradication of “transgenderism” deserves a platform, especially considering the majority of Americans are in favor of protecting trans people from discrimination.

It’s a bit silly of Knowles to claim that his “opposition to transgenderism derives, not from hatred, but from love of the truth, in this case regarding epistemology and anthropology.” Last time we checked, anthropology is the study of the culture of people, and people have challenged and rejected the gender binary for thousands of years. 

It’s telling that nine transgender individuals rejected ISI’s offer to debate Knowles, even with $10,000 up for grabs. Here’s three others who Knowles wouldn’t debate, probably out of fear they’d make a compelling argument and crush his ego. 

  • Roc the Panther 

To Knowles’ dismay, gender is a social construct. And, sorry to break it to you, but that’s not even an opinion — it’s sort of an established fact, and one recognized by the World Health Organization. That being said, gender is concerned with people. 

While we think Roc could make a good argument for why we shouldn’t discriminate based on something forced onto us by society, Knowles wouldn’t be able to comprehend discussing gender with an animal mascot. This concept would prove far too confusing for his little brain to wrap around, so it’s safe to say Roc is in the clear! 

  • The Cathedral of Learning

Knowles, thinking he knows all, would absolutely refuse to entertain the Cathedral of Learning. I mean, can you blame him? It does have “learning” in the name, which seems above Knowles’ intellectual paygrade. Plus, most humanities majors are housed here, and there isn’t anything more terrifying than a 20-something obtaining a degree in gender, sexuality and women’s studies, so it’s safe to say that Cathy is off-limits. 

  • A random student off of the street 

What’s more terrifying than someone who believes in LGBTQ+ rights? Probably one who is actively in college and learning about the world, so Knowles most likely would not test his luck by plucking an unsuspecting student from the swarms of people traveling up and down Forbes and Fifth. 

With a growing number of young people concerned for LGBTQ+ rights, the chances are pretty high that he’d face someone who would make the argument that trans people deserve to exist, probably on the basis that they aren’t hurting anyone and simply want to live their most authentic lives.