It may sound crazy, even in the left-wing mecca of California, but a 2017 state law passed to protect transgender nursing home residents from discrimination also makes it a criminal offense for a nursing home employee to “misgender” that person.
Misgendering a nursing home resident is a misdemeanor offense with a penalty of up to $2,500 fine and six months in jail, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
That criminal offense could mean using “he” instead of “she" in normal English language, but the progressive Left has developed its own language in which people demand you say "Ze" and "Hir," for example, and also use the plural "They" if the person demands it.
The plaintiff fighting the law is a group called Taking Offense, which sued to stop it as soon as it went into effect in 2018.
Homosexual activists, who naturally backed the law five years ago, are up in arms after a state appeals court sided with Taking Offense about the free speech restriction and thus ruled against the law. That ruling, from a three-judge panel in July, said it understood the purpose of the law but Justice Elena Duarte wrote that a person’s right to speak freely “prohibits the government from compelling adoption of a government message and protects the right of citizens to refrain from speaking."
Greg Burt, of the California Family Council, tells American Family News he warned state lawmakers at a committee hearing they were engaging in unconstitutional free speech restrictions that were being endorsed by state government.
“How can you believe in free speech,” Burt told the Judiciary Committee, “but think the government can compel people to use certain pronouns when talking to others.”
"From a Christian perspective,” Burt tells American Family News, “we believe God created people male and female. It's not based on your feelings. It's based on biological fact."
The other side is not persuaded from that argument, however. “Deliberately misgendering a transgender person,” bill author Sen. Scott Wiener told a newspaper, “isn't just a matter of opinion, and it's not simply 'disrespectful, discourteous, or insulting. Rather, it's straight-up harassment.”
"You're compelling them to espouse the other person's belief system and that's not respect. That's not tolerance," Burt counters. "Really, we should be teaching people to tolerate people with different views, not threaten to put them in jail."
In newspaper interviews, however, Sen. Wiener has made it clear those views will not be tolerated in California. The lower court ruling allows the "harassment and bullying of frail trans seniors" in the nursing homes, he said, and so the California Supreme Court must overrule the "atrocious" ruling.