A recent survey by Redfield & Wilton Strategies for Newsweek, found that 44 percent of millennials (between ages 25-34) favor criminal charges for people who use the wrong pronouns for others or so-called “misgendering.” We have previously discussed how misgendering is now a crime in countries like Great Britain. Misgendering has been referred to as an “act of violence” at some U.S. universities.
There has been a concern that we are seeing the rise of a generation of censors, who have been taught since a young age that speech is harmful and even violent.
Yet, hate speech is protected in the United States. Given that fact, it is astonishing to claim that a pronoun violation could lead to incarceration. Only 31 percent of the millennials disagreed with the proposition.
They are not alone.
Recently, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who is a lawyer, said that “if you espouse hate … you’re not protected under the First Amendment.” Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean declared the identical position: “Hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment.”
Even some dictionaries now espouse this false premise, defining “hate speech” as “Speech not protected by the First Amendment, because it is intended to foster hatred against individuals or groups based on race, religion, gender, sexual preference, place of national origin, or other improper classification.”