When Stanford Law protesters accused the school’s Federalist Society chapter last month of putting LGBTQ lives in danger by inviting a conservative judge to speak, they cited the suicide of a transgender classmate last year. What they didn’t mention was that the student they held up as a martyr was a member of the conservative group and counted many fellow members as friends.

Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach infamously took protesters’ side, telling Fifth Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan that he posed “harm” to trans people. But Steinbach was well aware that Dylan Simmons, Stanford’s most visible, and now deceased, transgender law student, had been a member of the conservative group she demonized, the law school’s Federalist Society President Tim Rosenberger told The Daily Wire.

Simmons died January 20, 2022 after becoming isolated and depressed during coronavirus lockdowns, Rosenberger said. Born a female in China and then adopted by a family in Texas, Simmons began identifying as a male at age 20 and majored in gender studies. As a law student, Simmons was active in identity politics groups, but also held conservative views.

After Simmons’ death, Steinbach “was the main driver” in planning a “grieving session” that devolved into a left-wing rally in which Steinbach’s mother likened the dead student to the September 11 hijackers, Rosenberger said.

More than a year later, during the March 9 Federalist Society event with Duncan, leftist students attacked conservative jurisprudence as a threat to LGBTQ people and brandished signs accusing the society of causing trans suicide. To people outside of Stanford, it was a standard accusation of “transphobia” made against conservatives. But to Simmons’ Federalist Society friends, it took on a sinister brazenness.

“Certainly the implication was that we were responsible” for their member’s death, said Rosenberger, who himself is openly gay.

On April 9, a month after the protest, OutLaw—a group of radical gender activists at the law school—released a statement attempting to justify its disruption of the event.

“We must say aloud what so many have failed to recognize: Our community is still healing from the loss of Dylan Simmons, one of our most beloved and most visible trans members, last year,” the statement read. “This grief runs deep. Healing is not linear. And our wounds are opened again and again as our community weathers relentless attacks on our lives.”

Members of OutLaw may not have known much about Simmons, who once gifted the Federalist Society chapter an autographed copy of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s autobiography. Records provided to The Daily Wire by the national Federalist Society group show that Simmons paid dues on January 7, 2021.

But Steinbach was very familiar with Simmons’ sad saga. Although she had only been working at the law school for about 6 months when Simmons died, she played a key role in planning the “grieving session” for Simmons, Rosenberger said.  The session was initially to take place during a meeting of the Federalist Society, prompting Rosenberger to ask that it be rescheduled.

Steinbach claimed to have been close to Simmons—though she also seemed to know little about the student’s religious or political views, Rosenberger said. The service she planned took several bizarre twists, some which seemed to underscore that its real purpose was to push leftist politics, not mark a life lost.

Rosenberger recalled a black preacher who was invited to give Simmons’ eulogy telling mourners that “we don’t know” what Simmons thought of the afterlife, then recommending they read a book called “Grieving While Black”–even though none of the students in attendance were black.

“Dylan was a confirmed member of the Methodist church. What he thought of the afterlife wasn’t some unknowable fact,” Rosenberger said.

The strangest moment, according to Rosenberger, came when Steinbach told the gathering she was “so overcome with grief that I can barely function, so I asked my mom to come with me and say a few words.”

Steinbach’s mother acknowledged never having met Simmons, but said that, “I feel like I knew him because my daughter was so close to him,” Rosenberger said.

She said she had been thinking about Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk who was exiled from Vietnam after refusing to choose sides in the war against communism and who went on to found monasteries and retreats in the West, including in Berkeley, California. According to Rosenberg, she said she spoke to Hanh on September 12, 2001, the day after terrorists killed 3,000 Americans, “and he said ‘I don’t know what those men were thinking, but I know that no one was listening to them, or at least they felt that way.’”

The session did not lessen Rosenberger’s grief.

“So she’s comparing Dylan to the 9/11 hijackers? And favorably?” he said. “Now I was sort of pissed off.”

Neither Steinbach nor her mother returned requests for comment.

The fact that Simmons, who at the time may have been Stanford Law’s only openly transgender student, was a member of the conservative group “was sort of scrubbed” to advance identity politics, he said.

A flier posted on Stanford Law's campus by the group Outlaw. Courtesy the Federalist Society

A flier posted on Stanford Law’s campus by the group Outlaw. Courtesy the Federalist Society

Last month’s incident involving Judge Duncan catapulted Steinbach into international headlines. Stanford’s president and law school dean later apologized to Duncan and placed Steinbach on leave, but Steinbach penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal without permission that doubled down on her rhetoric.

In the April 9 statement from OutLaw, the radical activist group expressed “our profound gratitude for a community leader who has done more than any other to make this place safe and accepting: Associate Dean Tirien Steinbach.”

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