In California of all places, it turns out that people can’t force you to say things you know to be untrue, even though your refusal might anger them or hurt their feelings.
It’s all part of the glory of free speech.
On July 16 California’s Third District Court of Appeals ruled that a state statute forcing nursing home staff to use trans and nonbinary patients’ “preferred pronouns” is a freedom of speech violation, reports the Washington Blade.
The court’s unanimous 3-0 decision struck down this part of the LGBTQ Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). The Court kept a provision in the law that requires nursing homes to place transgender patients in rooms that match the gender they want to be.
“Deliberately misgendering a transgender person isn’t just a matter of opinion, and it’s not simply ‘disrespectful, discourteous, or insulting,’” Senator Wiener said in a statement, trying to turn the words people use into weapons in need of his official regulation. “Rather, it’s straight up harassment. And, it erases an individual’s fundamental humanity, particularly one as vulnerable as a trans senior in a nursing home. This misguided decision cannot be allowed to stand.”
That’s right — someone’s very “humanity” is threatened by your own choice to use language you see as accurate and fair.
Rick Chavez Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California, carried on the fiction that using one’s own language accurately is “a hateful act”:
“The Court’s decision is a beyond disappointing, especially for our state’s transgender and nonbinary seniors. Let’s be clear: refusing to use someone’s correct name and pronouns isn’t an issue of free speech — it’s a hateful act that denies someone their dignity and truth.”
What about everyone else’s “dignity and truth”?