Pronoun Prison? California Moves Toward Criminalizing The Refusal To Use The Correct Pronoun For Transgender People

California flagThe California State Senate is considering a bill that would make it a crime to  “willfully and repeatedly” refuse “to use a transgender resident’s preferred name or pronouns” in a public health, retirement or housing institution.  State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has introduced  SB 219  with a variety of transgender protections but the pronoun controversy is likely to get the most attention.  Violators face a year in jail and a potential $1000 fine.  The criminalization of pronoun misuse however could raise serious free speech and other constitutional concerns.

The bill imposes the limitations on long-term care facilities and staff but critics believe that it will lay the foundation for a broader law to apply to public schools and other facilities.  The law states in part:

 (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), it shall be unlawful for a long-term care facility or facility staff to take any of the following actions wholly or partially on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status:
. . .
(3) Where rooms are assigned by gender, assigning, reassigning, or refusing to assign a room to a transgender resident other than in accordance with the transgender resident’s gender identity, unless at the transgender resident’s request.
(4) Prohibit a resident from using, or harass a resident who seeks to use or does use, a restroom available to other persons of the same gender identity, regardless of whether the resident is making a gender transition or appears to be gender-nonconforming. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, requiring a resident to show identity documents in order to gain entrance to a restroom available to other persons of the same gender identity.
(5) Willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name or pronouns.
(6) Deny a resident the right to wear or be dressed in clothing, accessories, or cosmetics that are permitted for any other resident.
There remains a debate over the free speech rights of academics and others in refusing to use a wide array of new pronouns — as we have discussed previously.  Those who object have stated religious, political, and legal objections to the required use of pronouns like “they” for single individuals or “ze” or “em” or “er.”   Given this relatively new debate, the question is why the state should criminalize pronoun abuse.
What do you think?

157 thoughts on “Pronoun Prison? California Moves Toward Criminalizing The Refusal To Use The Correct Pronoun For Transgender People”

  1. It’s a nice gesture out of respect. I use those. I think we should however to put someone in jail and or to fine them is not very American and it reminds me of Hitler.

    1. What other varied and sundry peculiarities have you been “conditioned” to consider Hitlerian‽

      1. Ah the interrobang, nice to see the occasional glyph used in modern writing.

      2. Well, I would have to think for a minute when it comes to Hitlerian.

        But grown men running around in made up uniforms and beating people up because they disagree politically is close enough to Nazi for me. Yeah, at the risk of some imprecision I would call that Nazi-like or maybe Neo-Nazi. What about you? What do you think?

  2. I do believe a renowned canadian professor warned us of this and what would happen if it passes. This will not stand in america.

      1. To the contrary.

        Although uncommon in English, the usage of ‘thou’ as a verb did appear, such as at the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh in 1603, when Sir Edward Coke, prosecuting for the Crown, reportedly sought to insult Raleigh by saying,

        I thou thee, thou traitor!

        here using thou as a verb meaning “to call thee”. Although the practice never took root in Standard English, it occurs in dialectal speech in the north of England.

  3. What do I think? I think (nay, believe) that loud flushing sound is western civilization going down the toilet.

  4. I am old enough to have learned that “gender” refers to parts of speech and only that.

  5. As the United States continues its descent into complete depravity and despair, and as the Elite Establishment continues to persuade the American public to surrender all of their rights in total obedience to the all-powerful State, “free speech” will not be completely abrogated. “Free Speech” will still be permitted under very specific and specified circumstances. The following will give you an idea of what things will look like in the not too distant future and what types of “free speech” will be permissible–indeed required:

  6. This violates the First Amendment right of free speech. You do not send someone to jail because they don’t choose to call a male a female.

    Gender dysphoria is classified as a mental illness in the DSM-5, similar to people who feel that their body is supposed to be an amputee, or those who work out constantly but see themselves as fat. This is different from gender nonconformity, such as girls who just like to dress as boys or act in ways that are socially considered more male, but they know and accept that they are female.

    However, unlike body dysmorphic disorder, the treatment is to sexually reassign the sufferer to their preferred gender. There is some debate as to this approach, as we don’t tell those with body dysmorphic disorder that they are in fact fat or that their other preoccupations with not feeling right in their body are healthy. It is not recommended to amputate healthy limbs of those with body integrity identity disorder. People feeling that they are a black person trapped in a white person’s body are not really black.

    Gender can be more complicated, because in addition to gender dysphoria, a mental illness, there are also disorders of sex development, like androgen insensitivity syndrome or ovotesticular DSD. Sometimes there are medical conditions that make a person’s gender ambiguous. This is different than dysphoria.

    We are becoming an increasingly intolerant society. If people want to pick another pronoun, or even make up an entirely new pronoun, that’s fine. But they cannot go through life demanding that everyone else conform to their wishes or beliefs. And you certainly don’t send someone to jail because they won’t switch someone’s pronoun. That would send most of our elderly to prison for their golden years. Most of our grandparents wouldn’t even understand the pronoun zir, xe…What am I saying, I don’t understand those pronouns either! And most of the elderly, and many of younger generations, don’t understand why they would be forced to treat a male as a female. I think transgender kids should be protected from bullying and violence. Kids can be mean to those who are different. But that’s a completely different animal than criminalizing people who aren’t comfortable using different pronouns.

    Again – this is the weaponization against anyone who doesn’t follow Progressive beliefs. Even though I support making it as safe as possible for those suffering with transgenderism, this is a bridge too far from tolerance to intolerance.

    1. From Karen S. “And you certainly don’t send someone to jail because THEY won’t switch someone’s pronoun.” You’re doing it too, Karen.

      1. She’s doing nothing other than being grammatically correct.

        1. Someone=singular

          She (or is it they!) is being grammatically incorrect albeit conforming to the tenets of political correctness.

      2. You got me. I do a terrible job editing my posts, and I’d be lost without spell check.

        1. It’s OK Karen. It was a mistake. The politically correct do it on purpose for a purpose.

        1. Or when they do away with the electoral college, so that all territory between NY and CA will be flyover, then there will be nowhere for anyone to go.

          Does “they” count as “those people”, because that’s a micro aggression, right?

      1. It’s a great deal less costly for Mr. Wiener to just mind his own business.

  7. If chromosomes are no longer considered scientific proof of gender, then why should anyone believe scientists on anything? It’s one thing to argue scientists have manipulated or misinterpreted the physical data, but isn’t XX and XY self-evident?

    1. Some people use sex to refer to biological characteristics such as chromosomes, and gender to refer to social role. To me, that usage makes it much easier to sort out the discussion.

      In my opinion, there are some including the courts that have conflated sex and gender which tends to obscure rather than clarify.

      1. Replacing the proper word, “sex” w/ the improper usage of “gender” was implemented when PC was nascent back in the 70’s. It was a major victory for the feminists who don’t like sex, or can’t get any. I don’t use “gender” unless I am using it regarding grammar where the genders are male, female, or neuter[like Judge David Souter]. That is the way it was for centuries. PC is about control, getting people to jump through hoops. It has NOTHING to do w/ tolerance..NOTHING!

        1. PC is about controlling the language, and therefore the discussion. And then stopping the discussion with assorted name calling.

        2. This is pure speculation on my part, but I believe some of the pressure to conflate sex and gender flows from the need to support the argument that transgender are born that way so it is unreasonable to require them to act any other way.

          Now I do believe some are born that way. But my belief acknowledges we have no clear evidence how people become who they are. And however it is that the essential characteristics of people are formed, there is no reason to try to confuse sex with gender. It is useful to be able to discuss social roles and acknowledge that either sex, from time to time, act out the many different social roles we encounter every day.

          We can use language as a lens to help understand our situation. Unfortunately some use language to obscure interesting and important points.

          1. If it’s all fluid then not categories matter a bit. Thought itself or distinguishing categories can be done away with. Where do I turn myself in? For reprogramming?

            1. “If it’s all fluid then not categories matter a bit. Thought itself or distinguishing categories can be done away with. ”

              So far as human beings go, our sex is clear for maybe 99% of us. What makes us male or female is in our biology, the expression of our genes.

              But what we consider masculine or feminine is a social construct, it is something we make up. There is nothing about biology that requires females to have pierced ears, or wear eye shadow, or wear diaphanous gowns to the Kennedy Center. There is nothing about being male that requires men to wear boots or prefer camo gear, or drive around in pick-up trucks with a gun rack in the back.

              There is nothing about the biology of being male or female that requires we adhere to those indicators of our social role. But we do it. And if someone suggests that we change some of those indicators of our social role, then many of us quickly become very uncomfortable. . .

              There is nothing about the biology of the male that prevents a male from wearing a tutu. But many of us find that image incongruous if not down right disturbing. It is a convention, a social construct, a standard that we impose on ourselves.

              I have to admit that as a fairly conventional male, if I anticipate spending a busy day storming the barricades I prefer boots and camo BDUs over a tutu any day.

              But, each to his own

              The point is that sex, what makes us male or female, is well defined through biological process for maybe 99% of us.

              But, gender, that indicates whether we are masculine of feminine or something else entirely, is a social construct, something, that over generations, we made up, that provides cues for how we interact with each other. We could have done the signaling with insignia on our sleeves, or colored bandanas stuffed in our back pockets. But fashion is much more interesting – don’t you agree?

        1. Olly – I am not sure the asylum was ever safe. I am headed for assisted living. 🙂 Thing I have a chance at survival there.

            1. Olly – Assisted living is for us old folks who might need help moving around. Assistance (assisted). It is usually in levels from normal apartments to more care to memory care (dementia). It is coming your way. 😉

              1. And here I thought you would recognize a contrarian. I’m very familiar with assisted-living facilities with my grandfather and recently my wife’s grandmother. What a racket.

                  1. I forget. I should have been more precise in my comment. It was specifically related to the quality of care and the associated costs for my wife’s grandmother.

                1. Olly – sorry I missed the subtlety. I was multi-tasking and clearly not paying enough attention to your comment. 🙂 However, a winkey would have helped. 😉

              2. “It is usually in levels from normal apartments to more care to memory care (dementia). It is coming your way.”

                Considering that roughly 50% of us fortunate enough to live beyond 85, or so, will suffer some level of dementia and that baby boomers are a large bulge in the population, we probably ought to open the immigration gates and start training all those job hungry young people to be CNAs.

                I wouldn’t worry about the language problem too much. By then most of us are not going to remember to word for drinking glass or water anyway.

    2. The biological definition of sex (male, female, hermaphrodite) is based on whether an organism has gonads for producing sperm, eggs, or both, not on its chromosomes. In almost all mammals the gonads of an individual are usually determined by XX or XY, but not for all individuals, so chromosomes never define sex. For a few mammals, all individuals, both males and females have XX. It would be silly for a biologist to call a sperm producing individual female just because it had XX chromosomes. Legally, human sex has always been assigned on the basis of the appearance of the external genitalia since the nature of the gonads is hidden. Try telling your thirty year old married sister that she is a man because you have just discovered that she has XY chromosomes and you will be in trouble! Forget chromosomes when it comes to sex.

      1. What you’re describing can be Swyer’s syndrome or androgen insensitivity, but in neither case is the person capable of producing eggs/sperm. AFAIK, in the case of Swyer’s, if it isn’t diagnosed and treated in adolescence with HRT, the girl won’t develop secondary sex characteristics. Women with Swyer’s can potentially reproduce, but not without a donated egg. These are rare genetic mutations (1 in 80,000 for Swyer’s), and the numbers are much lower than those who make up the LGBT community (or so they claim). For the average poster here (e.g., who likely isn’t a beekeeper or avian geneticist), it is completely appropriate to think of biological sex as XX/XY.

  8. The author is an lawyer / sexual-deviant whose previous legislative efforts have included a proposal to make life more pleasant for barebackers. The trouble with him is manifest: narcissism is a vector in the makeup of homosexual men, and they experience a failure to applaud as an injury.

  9. I can see Canada doing something like, but not California, as nutty as they are. I hope someone takes this law, if passed, to the Supreme Court to get it thrown out. It’s basically a discrimination law. Plus, there is STILL two genders.

        1. San Diego, because of it’s military influence, has some of the best folks in that state.

          1. If states are considered laboratories of democracy, our experiments are being controlled by some truly mad scientists.

        2. I am NOT affiliated with whacko Californians! I live in CA, and have a lot of friends and family who are ranchers, farmers, and country people. It’s like San Franciscans live in another country. CA is a bit like a distillation of the electoral college debate. The dense cities are Liberal, and determine the policies governing the entire state, but the vast overwhelming majority of land in the state is occupied by rural America with very different needs and wishes.

          A case in point is that many multigenerational farmers live in Northern and Central CA right next to rivers, where they’ve had water rights for over a hundred years. They use irrigation ditches and canals to flood their orchards and fields. Those irrigation canals criss cross the state. But the dense, Liberal cities to the South keep growing, and they are thirsty. More and more and more people keep going to the cities, and those cities need their fountains, golf courses, water parks, lawns, English garden landscaping (you would be surprised at the lush landscaping in so many Liberal politician’s own yards)…So there is a water war going on in the state. Those who don’t live near water take the water from those who live right next to it. They take the water from farmers, and cap their wells. Those who have groundwater on their own property can have it metered and capped, even if the resource is entirely bounded by their own property line. There are signs all across Central and Northern CA that read “Is growing food wasting water?”

          Meanwhile, the water hog crop of cannabis is absolutely taking off. It really should be grown in high rainfall areas, but instead it’s all over dry desert CA. The almond farmers are persona non grata, while the higher water use cannabis drug growers are darlings.

          1. Karen, Good local farming info. I met a bee keeper who sells all his honey to Sue Bee. This was a few years ago. He told me all the hyperventilation about bees dying off was nonsense, they’ve gone through worse times and always come back. This guy was taking his bees to Cali for the almond farms. He said they require the most bees for pollination. He travels the country for different seasons. Nice guy.

      1. Emanuelle, They are indeed. And, I would donate $$$’s to a Calexit fund. But, we need to expedite their cessation before they go bankrupt..probably within the next 8-10 years.

  10. “Violators face a year in jail and a potential $1000 fine.” Jail time, seriously? This seems a simple way to bring in more money for our growing jail/prison industry. And just to note I always refer to my spouse of 46 years as my “spouse”. And he’s a guy and I’m a gal (heterosexually speaking).

    1. there are no other legitimate expressions of marriage . make as many laws as you will. marriage is and will always be before God as one man and one woman..

  11. A distinct pattern has emerged in these continuing PC posts by JT. Our host is a free speech absolutist and the alt left despise free speech. So, most of the usual alt left folks avoid these posts. But the handful who do comment, like the Canadian Rain Man, change the topic to TRUMP..TRUMP. Sickening

  12. Montesquieu, The Spirit of the Laws, Book XIX: Of Laws in Relation to the Principles Which Form the General Spirit, Morals, and Customs of a Nation

    14. What are the natural Means of changing the Manners and Customs of a Nation. We have said that the laws were the particular and precise institutions of a legislator, and manners and customs the institutions of a nation in general. Hence it follows that when these manners and customs are to be changed, it ought not to be done by laws; this would have too much the air of tyranny: it would be better to change them by introducing other manners and other customs.

  13. While having no concerns about gender identity generally, I find it disconcerting that people prefer to say “my wife” or “my husband” rather than the non-gender word, “my spouse”. It should make no difference to anyone else what gender someone’s spouse is, so why identify their gender at all?

    1. The vast majority of couples are heterosexual couples. What do traditional wedding vows say? Our language is established over centuries of organic use. Why would people suddenly start using the vastly more awkward “my spouse”, particularly if their husband or wife were standing right there during the conversation? Even same-sex couples don’t talk like that.

      1. Cape Cod Skeptic – even gay couples introduce their married partner as their husband or their wife.

    2. If one has a preference for gender in their personal relations, then what, exactly, is wrong with making that clear to those you encounter.

      Discrimination by gender may be wrong in the work place or education.

      But when it comes to personal relations doesn’t everyone have a right to proudly proclaim those they love?

      I think the fallacy occurs in this statement: “It should make no difference to anyone else what gender someone’s spouse is, so why identify their gender at all?”

      The fact that gender should make no difference to others does not imply that identification of gender does not add to our understanding of the person describing their relationship.

      Surely gender should not change our appreciation of an associates children. But does it make any sense to choose gender neutral terms to describe our children? I think not.

      What about when we describe life experiences with parents or class mates or co workers. Does it add in any way to choose gender neutral terms when we recount those experiences. I think not. On the contrary, inclusion of the detail of gender can add to the richness of the story.

      Sure, focus on gender can cause problems in some situations. But gender is a detail that adds to our understanding of the person and events. In personal situations it makes no sense to avoid mentioning gender. .

        1. Except for the ones that get off on that sort of thing – in which case he will probably just watch.

  14. Wasn’t there an article some years back that California was going to drop off into the Pacific Ocean.

    1. J Pismo Clam – technically, California would slide into the ocean. That would make Yuma, AZ beach front property. Surfs up, dude!!!

  15. Overall, I would say this is nuts, but it is California, home of the fruits and nuts. And they all seem to have gotten themselves elected to the state legislature. I am not sure if it is Constitutional, on a First Amendment basis.

    1. That’s true, but again, being California I am sure they’d be happy to reinterpret the Constitution for the rest of us plebes. As you know, we can’t be trusted to formulate our own opinions, have personal values or priorities, or draw our own conclusions about anything. That’s just *silly*. 😛

      1. Yep. Jordan Peterson has been warning others about this for almost a year now.

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