Opinion: I interviewed students about Bud Light’s controversy and got transphobic comments. Does this matter?

Anna Claire Edenfield, Managing Editor, Reflector Magazine

Three Georgia Southern Students were openly transphobic when asked about the transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney and Bud Light’s controversial partnership in the Henderson Library on April 11th. Out of nine interviewees, I would have never predicted students to be openly transphobic and comfortable with their names being attached to the published comments. 


(Names have been removed. See editor’s note at bottom for more information.)


GS Students’ Comments


  • “I don’t really like it because I feel like Dylan is trying to appropriate women,” a GS junior said. “How come actual women don’t get to be recognized? She spent a whole year doing girlhood and she gets recognized.” 


  • “I didn’t even know who that was until they announced they were partnering together. I believe there’s 2 genders and you’re biologically what you were born as, that might not even be together with the Bud Light thing,” a GS freshman said. “But I think they’re gonna lose a lot of customers.”


  • “I don’t believe in thinking that you can be a girl and a boy and so I think the whole thing is completely wrong,” a GS junior said. “Obviously they are not aware of who their consumer is.”  


Carmello Paccor is a GS sophomore transgender student and a colleague at George-Anne Media Group. He agreed to be named and reacted to these comments. While he expected some offensive comments, he was still shocked at students’ arguments and remarks.


“You know we’re people, it doesn’t have to be for you,” Paccor said. “We’re just allowed to exist.”


I then asked Paccor if he thought these quotes would matter to fellow GS students and members of the LGBTQ+ community:


“It’s important that trans students know what other students think about them,” Paccor said. “A false sense of safety is scary.”


Dominique Quarles, Georgia Southern’s Chief Diversity Officer, declined an in-person interview and only accepted questions through email. He chose to not directly comment on the GS students’ transphobic comments, instead he addressed the concern of a safe environment on campus. 


  • “The safety of all our students is a priority for our university, which includes the safety of our LGBTQ+ students,” Quarles said in an email. 


  • “Our faculty, staff, and students work to create and sustain a safe environment on campus, which has resulted in the Campus Pride Index’s National Listing of LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities rating Georgia Southern 4 out of 5 (or higher) in the areas of campus safety, student life, academic life, and counseling and health services, with specific regard to LGBTQ+ students.”


Other students I spoke with in the library were supportive of Mulvaney’s partnership with the brand and were unaffected by the Instagram collaboration. 


  • “I think that people should just leave her alone, like she’s getting her money.” a GS sophomore said. “If anything they should probably get their own brand deal instead of being such a hater.” 


  • “I honestly feel like if seeing a transgender person on a beer can is going to be the reason why you don’t buy the beer, then just pick a different brand, it’s never that deep,” a GS senior said. “If you don’t like it, find a different brand to drink. There’s no reason to spread hate.”


So does students being openly transphobic on one of the “safest campuses” really matter? Yes. Students were comfortable talking to a reporter and comfortable having their name published, while spreading transphobic hate towards the LGBTQ+ community.


Students of the LGBTQ+ community can never feel safe if their peers are willing to be outwardly transphobic towards them. 


“People need to accept that people are trying to figure out who they are and that’s fine,” Paccor said. 


Editor’s note: Although students initially agreed to have their names published with their comments, I have spoken with a credible professional and chose to not use any names in this story to prevent any backlash towards students. 


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