Students at the University of Texas at Austin plan to protest “campus carry” – a law that will allow license holders to carry a concealed handgun on campuses – in a unique way: by strapping “giant swinging dildos” to their backpacks.
“The State of Texas has decided that it is not at all obnoxious to allow deadly concealed weapons in classrooms, however it DOES have strict rules about free sexual expression,” Jessica Jin, organizer of the Facebook event and a UT alumna, wrote on the page. “You would receive a citation for taking a dildo to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class.”
In June, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed two “open carry” gun bills — HB 910 and SB 11 — “that expand Texans’ Second Amendment rights,” according to the Office of the Governor. SB 11, known as “campus carry,” authorizes individuals with a license to carry a concealed handgun on campuses of public institutions of higher education.
UT’s obscenity policy, according to the Facebook post, is “No person or organization will distribute or display on the campus any writing or visual image, or engage in any public performance, that is obscene … as defined in Texas Penal Code, Section 43.21 or successor provisions.”
Jin says the concept for the event — which will take place in August 2016, when the bills go into effect — began as a reaction to the recent spate of campus shootings.
“I felt a lot of frustration at those who were still trying to explain away, or make excuses for this repeated pattern of violence, and said to myself, ‘Man, these people are such dildos,’” Jin tells USA Today College. “I couldn’t believe that people could still sit there and defend their own personal gun ownership while watching families mourn the loss of their children.”
According to Jin, large plastic phalluses were the chosen item of protestation because “it is just plain funny.” She hopes this will foster commentary on what is or isn’t obscene while spotlighting “the masturbatory nature of the power which people derive from gun ownership.
“There’s a lot of arguing going on, but the consensus is, we’re all just trying to not get killed,” Jin says.
As of Sunday morning, more than 1,200 people had agreed to participate in the event, being held Aug. 24, the first day of the 2016-2017 fall semester.
Jin says the idea has also sparked conversations on the perception of safety, the intersection of guns and sexuality, and even campus sexual assault.
“I need this proliferation of dildos to offer people a visual representation of what it would be like if we all carried guns,” Jin says. “It should look ridiculous to you. That is the point. This is America. If guns and bloodshed don’t wake people up, a public celebration of sexuality may just do the trick.”