Controversy was brewing on campus at UCLA Tuesday after a photo was shared thousands of times showing students holding signs that read, "there are only two genders" and "transgenderism is a mental disorder."
The photo, depicting three female students who hold or are running for positions in the UCLA Republican party and one male student from UC Santa Barbara, was snapped after a discussion about transgendered people, a UCLA student who shared the photo said.
The transgender lecture was organized by the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Young Americans for Liberty.
Julia Nista, running for vice president of the Bruin Republicans, is one of the students pictured holding the poster. She said she was shocked at the response over what she says is just her opinion.
"The response we have received from people, mostly on the left, has been stigmatizing mental disorders, horrific death threats, calling us names, curse words — all for us standing with our opinions," Nista said.
Bruin Democrats weren't as excited about the viral photo.
"While every student is entitled to their opinion and a platform to express it, we as Bruin Democrats strongly disagree with the views portrayed by the signs," the student organization said in a statement.
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The viral photo comes just ahead of closed student elections for Bruin Republicans at 7 p.m. Tuesday. All three of the women were elected to new positions.
"We always support the freedom of expression if there is nonthreatening speech. We support every individual's right to say and believe what they choose," Alex Rihm, student in the Bruin Republicans, said.
Earlier in the week, UCLA said it would mark a "milestone in campus diversity and inclusion" in May when it opens its 200th all-gender restroom; a facility where transgendered people could use the bathroom "regardless of gender identity or expression."
NBC4's Heather Navarro contributed to this report.