As transgender activism continues to exert influence in society and within the ranks of U.S. government, a growing number of individuals are pushing to restrict the First Amendment rights of some Americans in order to protect the feelings of others.
According to the results of a poll by Redfield & Wilton Strategies, 44% of respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 think it should be a crime to use the “wrong gender pronoun” to refer to an individual. That number was only slightly lower — 38% — among the 35-44 age group.
The concept appears to be gaining traction on Capitol Hill, where a number of Democratic lawmakers are rallying behind a bill that would largely remove gender references from the U.S. legal code.
In press releases from Democratic U.S. Reps. Summer Lee of Pennsylvania, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Robert Garcia of California, the current system is described as the perpetuation of an ongoing attack on LGBT Americans.
“In 2023 it is unacceptable that the U.S. Code perpetuates sexist social structures and reinforces gender stereotypes and social discrimination,” Lee wrote in her statement of support.
She went on to allege that her proposed bill “will enshrine gender equality into the U.S. Code and send a clear message that we won’t be silenced by the right-wing politicians, judges, and media goons waging a full-on assault on women and queer folks.”
Furthermore, Lee called for “replacing masculine generics with gender-neutral language,” providing the example of changing “he” to “the Secretary” when referencing the head of a particular federal government entity.
“Additionally, this key change would make the U.S. Code more inclusive to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially gender-nonconforming, nonbinary, and intersex individuals,” she concluded.
The language we use in our legal code matters, and using gender-neutral language helps address the systemic discrimination in our country.
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) July 25, 2023
While male pronouns would be on the chopping block, a briefing touting the perceived benefits of the change noted that many female pronouns would be protected.
“Some laws, such as the Violence Against Women Act and the statute establishing the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program, use gender-specific language to create rights and protections,” the document stated. “[The Office of Law Revision Counsel] would be prohibited from amending any portion of the Code where gender affects the substance, meaning or interpretation of the federal law,” the one-pager states.