A University of Kentucky student gained some notoriety after a video went viral of him discussing the transgender bathroom issue with conservative personality Kaitlin Bennett, aka the Kent State “gun girl.”

Now, Michael Hawse is using his newfound notoriety to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

In the video, Bennett, the media director for libertarian outlet Liberty Hangout, who is best known for posing with an AR-10 on Kent State University’s campus for graduation photos, asks Hawse what he thinks of putting urinals in women’s restrooms “for women who have penises and they just want to stand and pee?”

“I think people (are) just making too big of a f—king deal about it,” Hawse responded, with the curse word bleeped out by a sound effect. “I don’t really care.”

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 Bennett proceeded to ask Hawse about putting tampons and pads in men’s restrooms “for men who have periods.” Several times in the one-minute clip, Hawse repeated, “I don’t really care” or “that’s not my business.”

After being pressed by Bennett, Hawse finished the interview by saying, “I care about people’s personal rights. They can do whatever they want.”

Since the interaction, hundreds of thousands of people have seen the clip as it has made the rounds on Twitter. One tweet, posted by user Lilith Lovet Friday, has more than 125,000 retweets and 564,000 likes.

Hawse, a sophomore, told The Courier Journal he recognized and approached Bennett when he saw her walking on campus.

Hawse added that he doesn’t begrudge Bennett or disrespect her work, but “people who make their living stoking the flames of anger are not really advancing my goals or what I believe that would benefit the country.”

“I wanted to go up to her because I think that it’s one less person who she could’ve used to promote this agenda, which I disagree with,” Hawse said. “So I thought it was beneficial for me to talk to her.”

On Sunday evening, in a reply to one of his own tweets commenting on the video, Hawse posted a photo of his Venmo account and wrote that “anything sent will be donated to the DanceBlue Golden Matrix Fund benefiting pediatric cancer research.”

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He also posted a link to a fundraising page for the Pi Kappa Alpha 2020 DanceBlue Team. According to the page, DanceBlue is a student-run organization that raises money year-round, culminating in a 24-hour dance marathon. Money raised through the group goes toward Golden Matrix Fund, which is “established to support the kids of the DanceBlue Kentucky Children’s Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinic.”

As a Lexington native and son of pediatricians, Hawse thought he could use his spotlight to promote a cause he cares about. He said he has received about $250 total in donations from eight to 10 people.

Contact Ben Tobin at and 502-582-4181 or follow on Twitter @TobinBen. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today:

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