Students, alumni and spectators eagerly snatched up more than 4,500 donated dildos Tuesday evening at the University of Texas at Austin, preparing to assuage their frustration over a new state law allowing handguns to be carried on public university campuses.
Cocks Not Glocks, a protest group formed last fall, is urging students and others to openly carry the sex toys around campus, offering a multicolored counterpoint to the concealed weapons that holders of handgun licenses can now legally carry inside UT classrooms and most buildings.
“We want these dildos on backpacks as long as there are concealed handguns in backpacks,” said Ana López, a UT sophomore and one of the Cocks Not Glocks organizers.
Tuesday night’s distribution — which featured dildo juggling and the sale of t-shirts with slogans such as "Take It and Come" — was a prelude to an anti-campus carry rally planned for Wednesday, the semester's first full day of classes.
“We want to make sure that students don’t just go home and take these [sex toys] as a joke,” López said.
Austin stores and companies like Hustler Hollywood and HUM vibrators (known as "the first artificially intelligent vibrator") donated the sex toys after hearing about Cocks Not Glocks, López said. The full supply was gone in about 23 minutes, a distribution rate of almost 200 per minute.
“This isn’t just a local issue,” López said. “Gun violence is a public health issue that affects everybody. It resonated with a lot of people, and since certain groups had the props we needed, they generously decided to reach out and help.”
Texas lawmakers passed campus carry legislation in 2015, and Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law last June, but implementation was delayed until Aug. 1 of this year so universities could devise plans for each campus.
The law has been a particular point of contention at UT-Austin among both students and faculty. Architecture school Dean Fritz Steiner resigned in February saying he “didn’t believe in” campus carry, and recently a federal judge denied the request of three professors who filed suit seeking an injunction to block implementation of the law.
The Cocks Not Glocks movement was created by UT alumna Jessica Jin last October after she learned that sex toys, but not firearms, would still be banned in classrooms.
“As long as you have a dick on your backpack, people will be thinking about the guns inside of other people backpacks” Jin said Tuesday, dildo strapped to her backpack.
On the Cocks Not Glocks Facebook event, Jin wrote: “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, to protect your innocence. You would receive a citation for taking a dildo to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class. Heaven forbid the penis.”
UT’s obscenity policy states that “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.” But the dildo distribution was "protected political speech," university spokesman J.B. Bird said in an email.
“UT Austin students are free to express themselves peacefully on all issues,” he said. “The planned protests around campus carry appear to be examples of protected political speech. We ask that the conversations around this issue remain civil. We encourage students of all opinions to be a part of this and other discussions of public policy.”
The Second Amendment rights group Open Carry Texas plans to protest Wednesday's event, but founder and president CJ Grisham did not bring his group to Tuesday night’s proceedings, saying, “There’s only so many dildos [one] can look at.”
“Our goal is to support our student members and to show that UT is not unanimously against campus carry,” Grisham said. “A lot of people support the right to self-defense on a college campus.”
The group Students for Concealed Carry declined to comment on Cocks Not Glocks. But Antonia Okafor, southwest regional director for the group, said it plans to issue a statement early Wednesday morning.
Wednesday's rally will feature guest speakers such as Austin City Councilwoman Kathie Tovo; Austin state house candidate Gina Hinojosa; and Nicole Golden of the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, among others. López, however, said she hopes the movement will continue past the first day of school.
“Hopefully this isn’t just a one-day thing,” López said. “Hopefully students are empowered to take this message and turn it into their own demonstration. [Jin] has put in so much work and it’ll all culminate tomorrow, but I feel like this is something that can be huge and spread to not only other campuses in Texas but to schools across the nation.”
Read more of the Tribune's related coverage:
- A federal judge has denied three University of Texas at Austin professors’ initial attempt to keep guns out of their classrooms under the state’s campus carry law.
- Starting Aug. 1, licensed college students, faculty and visitors across Texas will be allowed to carry their concealed guns into campus buildings thanks to a new state law. But that right will be mostly limited to public schools.
- What does campus carry look like at your university? We want you to show us. Here's how.
Disclosure: The University of Texas at Austin has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.