Tuesday, August 03, 2021

This One Court Win Is A Death Blow To The Pronoun Police!

The State of California Third District Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that a state statute requiring nursing home staff to use the correct pronouns for trans and nonbinary patients is a freedom of speech violation.

SB 219, also known as the LGBTQ Senior Bill of Rights, protects LGBTQ seniors in long-term care facilities from discrimination and mistreatment based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Wiener authored and passed SB 219 in 2017, and then-Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law.

The California Family Council stated that, Notably, violators of the law “could be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to punishment of a $1000 fine, or even up to one year in jail.”

According to The Washington Blade report:

The Court, in a unanimous 3-0 decision, struck down this key provision of the LGBTQ Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights, created by SB 219 in 2017, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California. The Court upheld the provision in the law that requires nursing homes to place transgender patients in rooms that match their gender identity.

Here’s an excerpt from the California Legislative Info, a pertinent portion of the law with emphasis that added:

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 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.

The pronoun clause is a “content-based restriction of speech that does not survive strict scrutiny,” according to the court, and “burdens speech more than is required.”

Associate Justice Elena Duarte wrote, “The pronoun provision at issue here tests the limits of the government’s authority to restrict pure speech that, while potentially offensive or harassing to the listener, does not necessarily create a hostile environment,” the judge italicized “potentially” and “necessarily,” the Associated Press reported.

Judge Duarte said, “Refusing to use preferred transgender pronouns may be disrespectful, discourteous, and insulting, but it allows others to express an ideological disagreement with another person’s expressed gender identity.”

The California Family Council stated that back in December 2017, taking Offense challenged the law, the site noted, “on behalf of several unnamed clients and is challenging the law as ‘unconstitutionally vague and overbroad,’” the case was brought by Llewellyn Law Office, Attorney David Llewellyn.

In a statement, SB 219 sponsor Democratic Senator Scott Wiener (San Francisco) said that the court’s decision “is disconnected from the reality facing transgender people,” adding that “misgendering” someone is “straight-up harassment.”

The senator said, “The Court’s decision is disconnected from the reality facing transgender people. Deliberately misgendering a transgender person isn’t just a matter of opinion, and it’s not simply ‘disrespectful, discourteous, or insulting.’ 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.”


Turnaround: Seattle mayor calls for more police after city suffers six shootings in one weekend and loss of 250 officers in last 17 months

The Democratic mayor of Seattle is calling for the police force to replenish its shrinking numbers in the wake of six separate shootings that rocked the city over the weekend and into Monday.

The shootings, five of which took place within blocks of each other, left four people dead and seven injured.

The shootings took place in the Belltown, Pioneer Square, Chinatown International District and Capitol Hill neighborhoods. Another shooting took place in Lake City.

'As a city, we cannot continue on this current trajectory of losing police officers,' Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a press conference. 'Over the past 17 months, the Seattle Police Department has lost 250 police officers which is the equivalent of over 300,000 service hours. We're on path to losing 300 police officers.'

The Seattle Police Department saw more than 20% of its officers quit due to what they called an 'anti-police climate' in the city amid the Black Lives Matter protests and calls to defund the police.

Durkan said she plans to submit a new plan to hire more officers to restore its numbers.

She added that the shootings were part of a national epidemic that saw more than 900 shootings in cities across the country last week, the Seattle Times reports.

In a Fox News article and according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, the total number of shootings countywide this year is 33% higher compared to the same time period between 2017 and 2020. The total number of people shot this year in Seattle also increased 61% compared to the same time period in previous years.

Durkan clashed with the Seattle City Council last year over police funding, but the council ultimately voted to defund the police budget by roughly 17 percent this year, Fox reports.

Earlier this year, the city council also proposed possibly reducing the budget further by another $5.4 million, Kings 5, an NBC affiliate station reported. Such cuts have not been made yet.

Durkan ultimately vetoed a resolution attempting to strip funding from law enforcement, according to Fox.

'Not unexpected, losing these number of officers, when city leaders talk about cutting the department by 50%,' Durkan said. 'You will lose employees. Families need security. Workers, even police officers, need working conditions that support them. We cannot just cut. We need a plan.'

Tensions also grew between city officials and police last summer over the handling of the 'autonomous zone' protestors set up to operate outside the city's laws.

Armed protesters erected barriers and set up encampments around the zone, which was plagued by weeks of violence, looting, and vandalism.

When Durkan declined to remove the zone, police officers began quitting the force, with several of them citing a 'lack of support' from local government.

Exit interviews reveal that some departing officers retired early while others left for policing jobs in different cities or private sector roles.

Former Police Chief Carmen Best also quit, citing a 'lack of respect.'

Durkan eventually issued an executive order last July for officers to remove the zone after the mayor and local leaders failed to talk protestors into clearing the zone themselves.

Current chief Adrian Diaz also urged the city to hire new officers as the lack of manpower has made things harder for the department.

"I need more officers," Diaz said, adding that he can hire more officers but also needs support from the city "making it clear to officers, current and prospective…that they will have our support, financially and otherwise, to do this job well and know they will not be laid off due to budget cuts."

Seattle is the 18th most populous city in the nation with more than 776,000 residents living in it, according to US Census Bureau data.

Most Americans in major cities are more worried about crime than defunding the police. A new poll shows about 90 percent of Detroit residents actually want more cops.

The poll from USA TODAY and the Detroit Free Press conducted with Suffolk University found that Detroit residents overwhelmingly agree that they would feel safer with more cops on the street.

Detroit was not alone, as a poll from WNBC, Telemundo 47 and Politico conducted with Marist last month shows that 70 percent of black Democrats want more cops patrolling New York City.

In that poll, 21 percent of likely Democratic voters even want the return of the plainclothes anti-crime police in some neighborhoods.

And in Chicago, another poll last month from the MacArthur Foundation found that 79 percent of residents said they feel safer when they see police in their neighborhoods.


British Civil servants to be asked to include pronouns in email sign-offs

Thousands of civil servants are to be encouraged to add pronouns to their email sign-offs under plans for a transgender inclusivity drive, despite a backlash from staff.

The Scottish Government is backing proposals that would ask its 8,000 workers to take a “pronoun pledge” under which they would add terms reflecting their gender identity, such as she/her or he/him, to signatures at the bottom of every work email.

Some people who class themselves as non-binary prefer pronouns such as they/them, while others prefer “non standard” terms such as “zie” or “zir”, which civil servants would be free to use.

Supporters of the plan to “normalise the inclusion” of pronouns have said this would “foster an open culture that is supportive of the LGBTI+ community”.

However, the plan has provoked opposition from civil servants, after an internal survey set up to gauge opinion provoked a row which left some workers in tears.

Almost 60 per cent did not want to add pronouns to their emails, the results showed.

Meanwhile, campaigners raised fears that workers could feel pressurised to comply with the “stupid” and “authoritarian” policy, which has been backed by the Scottish Government but is yet to be rolled out.

Comments written by workers expressing concerns alongside the internal poll were dismissed as “disappointing” by Leslie Evans, Scotland's top civil servant, in a meeting with staff last month.

Documents released on Monday under Freedom of Information legislation show Ms Evans told staff in a Q&A session that “what we write around our name” could be “good and helpful” and said inclusivity policies could be overhauled.

However, Trina Budge, director of the For Women Scotland campaign group, described the pronoun push as “deeply stupid” and accused the Scottish Government of displaying “controlling, illiberal and authoritarian tendencies”.

“A recent poll showed the majority of civil servants were against this move and it is sad, but not surprising, to see Ms Evans disregard this,” she said.

“In forging ahead with this or any associated coerced signing of a pledge, the Scottish Government would, potentially, be discriminating against a protected belief and also inviting sex discrimination.

“It is further evidence that this Government only pretends to consult or openly discuss, and ditches any views which conflict with their predetermined policies.”

A bitter debate has erupted in Scotland about the issue of transgender rights, with Nicola Sturgeon in favour of changing the law to make it far easier for people to legally change their own gender.

Advocates of the changes believe current rules, which require medical reports and for someone to live in their preferred gender for two years, are too onerous and contribute to high levels of mental health problems in the trans community.

Some feminists, including Harry Potter author JK Rowling, strongly oppose the changes, believing they would erode women’s rights and potentially place them at risk in women-only spaces such as prisons and changing rooms.

The survey set up by supporters of the pronoun pledge found that only 17 per cent of more than 3,000 staff at the Government and its quangos who responded said they already used pronouns on email signatures. A quarter said they did not but might in future while 58 per cent said they did not and probably wouldn't.

Many trans and non-binary people introduce themselves with their preferred pronouns, so others know how they wish to be addressed. Some equality groups argue that even for people who are not trans or non-binary, adding pronouns to emails can be an important sign of inclusion towards those who are.

The comments made by some staff left other workers “in tears”, Joe Griffin, a director general in the Scottish Government, said.

He called for “empathy on both sides” of the debate and added: “Nobody in a workplace environment should have the fundamental aspect of their identity challenged.”

It was planned that a follow-up survey would run in September, to measure the impact of the initiative.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “It is an individual’s choice whether to include their pronouns in introductions and email signatures.

“The Scottish Government is making progress towards our ambition to be a world leading, diverse employer where people can be themselves at work, with a workforce that reflects the diversity of the people of Scotland.

“As an employer we are committed to a progressive approach to advancing LGBTI equality. We encourage any action that makes people feel included and respected in our organisation.”


Cambridge don hits back after Chaucer is labelled a 'rapist' - blasting criticism of the father of English Literature as a 'self-righteous assertion'

For more than six centuries he has been venerated as the father of English literature. Now, however, Geoffrey Chaucer has fallen victim to 21st century wokery.

The author of The Canterbury Tales has come under withering attack in a specialist journal from academics who have cast him as racist, an anti-Semite and a rapist.

The portrayal has divided scholars and prompted one former Cambridge don to resign from the publication’s board in disgust at the ‘grotesque caricature’.

The Chaucer Review published a series of articles edited by two academics, Nicole Sidhu and Samantha Katz Seal, entitled ‘New Feminist Approaches to Chaucer’.

Suggesting the time may have come ‘for feminists to move past Chaucer’, they wrote: ‘He is a rapist, a racist, an anti-Semite; he speaks for a world in which the privileges of the male, the Christian, the wealthy, and the white are perceived to be an inalienable aspect of human existence.’

Claims of anti-Semitism and racism arise from the prioress in The Canterbury Tales telling of Jews drinking blood in a ritual – but there is no evidence this passage in a satirical tale represents Chaucer’s own views.

The claim of rape is based on a 14th century legal document in which a woman called Cecily Chaumpaigne agreed to release Chaucer from all actions relating to ‘De raptu meo’.

While some interpret this as referring to rape, others point out the Latin term ‘raptus’ could also refer to abduction.

Criticising the way the rape accusation was first ignored by academics, then treated ‘as a joke’, Professors Sidhu and Katz Seal say scholars ‘should identify’ with Cecily rather than Chaucer.

The article has prompted Jill Mann, former Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English at Cambridge University, to quit the board of The Chaucer Review.

In a letter to the Times Literary Supplement, she said the depiction of Chaucer was a ‘self-righteous assertion, which dictates to the reader what she is supposed to find in Chaucer before she turns the first page.'

She added: ‘And of course she will not so much find it as bring it there.

'To approach Chaucer with this mind-set is to substitute a grotesque caricature for the humane values that distinguish him from many other writers of his time, and that students, in my experience, are quite capable of appreciating.’

Dealing with the alleged rape, Professor Mann wrote that ‘there cannot be absolute certainty’ and reiterated that ‘raptus’ had ‘a wide range of meanings’.

Professor Sidhu and Professor Katz Seal had not commented last night.


My other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)


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