A new bill being proposed by the California State Senate would punish people who work in public health, retirement or housing institutions if they “willfully and repeatedly” refused “to use a transgender resident’s preferred name or pronouns.”
State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) proposed the bill, SB 219.
The Legislative Council’s Digest of the bill reads:
This bill would enact the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights. Among other things, the bill would make it unlawful, except as specified, for any long-term care facility to take specified 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, including, among others, willfully and repeatedly failing to use a resident’s preferred name or pronouns after being clearly informed of the preferred name and pronouns and or pronouns, or denying admission to a long-term care facility, transferring or refusing to transfer a resident within a facility or to another facility, or discharging or evicting a resident from a facility.
Breitbart News reports that the bill includes several provisions required of a health facility. For example, it would become unlawful for a facility or facility staff to neglect the gender identity of a patient, meaning that they must be assigned to a room which corresponds with their chosen gender, use whichever bathroom they wish to use and wear whatever they want to wear in regards to clothing and cosmetics.
The bill’s definition of ‘gender identity’ is as follows:
“Gender identity” means a person’s identity based on the individual’s stated gender identity, without regard to whether the self-identified gender accords with the individual’s physical appearance, surgical history, genitalia, legal sex, sex assigned at birth, or name and sex, as it appears in medical records, and without regard to any contrary statement by any other person, including a family member, conservator, or legal representative. An individual who lacks the present ability to communicate his or her gender identity shall retain the gender identity most recently expressed by that individual.
The bill has already gone through several amendments.
CBN reports that the bill “imposes fines and jail time on any long-term care employee who refuses to use transgender pronouns. Fines for repeat offenders could be as high as $1,000 and a jail term of up to a year.”
Thankfully, there have been critics of the bill.
California Family Council’s Greg Burt, in a testimony before the California Assembly Judiciary Committee, said: “How can you believe in free speech, but think the government can compel people to use certain pronouns when talking to others?”
“Compelled speech is not free speech. Can the government compel a newspaper to use certain pronouns that aren’t even in the dictionary? Of course not, or is that coming next?” he continued.
“Those proposing this bill are saying, ‘If you disagree with me about my view of gender, you are discriminating against me,’” he said before adding “This is not tolerance. This is not love. This is not mutual respect. True tolerance tolerates people with different views. We need to treat each other with respect, but respect is a two-way street. It is not respectful to threaten people with punishment for having sincerely held beliefs that differ from your own.”
The measure, which is sponsored by the group Equality California, unfortunately, passed through the committee without a single vote against it.
Recently, Canada passed a very similar legislation. The Canadian transgender rights bill added “gender expression” and “gender identity” to the Criminal Code’s hate crime section as well as the Human Rights Code of the country.
Dr. Jordan Peterson has been a harsh critic of this, hinting that it’s a move to authoritarianism.
“I’ve studied authoritarianism for a very long time – for 40 years – and they’re [authoritarian movements] started by people’s attempts to control the ideological and linguistic territory,” he told the BBC last year after setting off a political and cultural firestorm for refusing to use gender pronouns.
“There’s no way I’m going to use words made up by people who are doing that – not a chance,” he added.
Peterson, who is a well-renowned psychology professor and a respected intellectual, was warned by his 2016 employers, the University of Toronto, that he could be in violation of the Ontario Human Rights code by refusing to use gender pronouns.
“If the standard transsexual person wants to be regarded as he or she, my sense is I’ll address you according to the part that you appear to be playing,” he explained. Peterson believes that terms such as “gender identity’ and “gender expression” and are “propositions of radical social constructionists.” He also states that such terms are being used to bully people into the submission of their political and social ideals.
“There’s only two alternatives to that,” he said. “One is silent slavery with all the repression and resentment that that will generate, and the other is outright conflict. Free speech is not just another value. It’s the foundation of Western civilization.”
Featured Image Via REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON