(The Hill) — Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro got into a heated exchange with a student about gender identity while speaking at a North Carolina college.
Shapiro was speaking at an event titled “Men Cannot Be Women,” which was hosted by the Young America’s Foundation (YAF), at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) on Monday when the incident occurred.
The author and media host was taking questions from the audience when he got into an exchange with a student who introduced himself as a “mathematician and physicist.”
“So, I think I’m pretty qualified to say that most of what you’re saying is based on old data,” the student said in the video. “Like, for example, gender identity disorder. That’s a DSM4 [diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders] bro. We use a DSM5 now.”
“I literally cited the DSM5 in the speech, and it’s called gender dysphoria,” Shapiro said.
DSM5 is a resource used by health care professionals in the U.S. to classify and diagnose mental disorders, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
The student then said, “You sound like a bozo, bro,” and took shots at his relationship with his wife.
“Let me just say, the nice thing about having several small children is I don’t feel the necessity of having my masculinity challenged by someone like you,” Shapiro responded.
The student then pointed out that Shapiro was drawing his ideas from a “Western colonial framework of gender” and noted that other cultures, like some Native American and African communities, have a different viewpoint of how gender should be interpreted.
“And they are incorrect. I am saying biologically, they are incorrect,” Shapiro said.
UNCG media relations director Eden Boss told The Hill that student organizations that bring speakers to campus, as well as the student body who attends the events, have a responsibility to enforce free speech and civil discourse.
“At UNC Greensboro (UNCG), we support free speech and social discourse,” Boss said in an email. “As a public university, we cannot regulate free expression on the basis of content, whether we agree or disagree.”
Boss also noted that the social media account that posted the original video of the exchange between Shapiro and the student has been made private.
The Hill has reached out to Shapiro.
Shapiro has been a very vocal opponent of LGBTQ arguments about gender identity, claiming that men and women cannot alter the gender they were assigned at birth, and that gender is a binary.
The exchange comes amid a push by GOP lawmakers across the country to advance bills that restrict the rights of transgender young people, including measures to ban trans girls from youth sports and block access to medical care required for transitioning.