The so-called “flagship” institution of higher learning in one of the most staunchly “Republican” states in America is preparing an “official pronoun policy” to address what progressives refer to as diversity in gender identification.
What do some critics call it? Mental illness.
The University of South Carolina’s latest grappling with these suddenly pernicious parts of speech comes just two weeks after this news outlet reported on another taxpayer-funded institution of higher learning – the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) – conducting “gender-affirming research” on children (including “pubertal suppression” and “hormone affirming therapy” medication).
Some of the subjects in the MUSC study were as young as four years of age …
The announcement also comes just two months after the school’s dysfunctional governing board choose new leadership (even though multiple members of the board remain on holdover status).
According to an article in The Daily Gamecock (South Carolina’s on-again, off-again student newspaper), the school’s vice president of “diversity, equity and inclusion,” Julian R. Williams, is in the process of “drafting a pronoun policy” – one which “sets expectations for the USC community” but does not “mandate that faculty and staff members must use a student’s preferred name and pronouns.”
That’s correct: The new policy is non-compulsory.
“We will provide guidance and education to community members as to why we think it’s important that they (use preferred pronouns),” Williams said. “But we can’t mandate that a faculty member utilize that information. From my perspective, I think most of our faculty and staff members will do so.”
Here is a “pronoun guide” from the University of California-Davis which was published by The Gamecock alongside its column on the new pronoun policy …
(Click to view)
(Via: The University of South Carolina)
But wait … what about students who identify as kittens? Or Klingons?
Seriously … how do you ask someone for their preferred pronouns in Klingon?
Is it nuq DaneH? Or nuq DaSov?
No really … ghu’ vIQoypu’ jIH.
A sociology instructor/ graduate instructor at South Carolina by the name of Atticus Wolfe doesn’t believe the university’s envisioned pronoun policy goes far enough – telling The Gamecock the school hasn’t sufficiently “followed through with the protection of marginalized communities” and has “done a worse job when stacked up against other public universities” on the inclusion front.
“(Some) individuals have already shared their pronouns and then come to find out that people are talking about them behind their back, saying that they are doing things for attention, trying to ascertain very transphobic and also sexist ideologies,” Wolfe, who is trans, added in his interview with the paper.
Wait … college kids talking trash about other college kids behind their backs?
Stop the presses (err).
Like The Gamecock, I am using Wolfe’s preferred pronouns for this story (as I do in all of my articles involving trans people). Unlike the student paper, though, I would humbly and respectfully encourage him to “man up.”
Seriously … what’s the point identifying as a man if you aren’t going to be one? Or, in a larger sense, if being a man doesn’t mean anything anymore? I mean … I’m not trying to trigger any woke-flakes here but if we are intent on erasing gender identities then what is the point of switching from one to the other?
I’m sorry but people can call themselves all sorts of things … I call things as I see them.
Having said that, my news outlet has zealously championed the bedrock American protections erected to safeguard individual liberty – including the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
For those of you unfamiliar with this clause, it holds that “(n)o state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
As I have stated repeatedly in the past, such “equal protection” applies universally – irrespective of who you are, who you love, where you live, what color you are, how much money you have, what (if anything) you worship and yes, how you identify yourself and what you choose to call yourself.
“People should be free to make choices about who they want to be – even if those choices are in a constant state of flux,” I wrote back in the fall of 2018. “It is not up to us to judge – and it certainly isn’t up to government to judge. In fact, government is bound by the Fourteenth Amendment to provide equal protection to all of its citizens. That includes men, women and … well … whatever.”
But equal protection does not mean compulsory acceptance. Nor should it mean special treatment.
And increasingly, limits to this freedom are becoming clear – especially when the expression of such freedoms infringe upon a greater liberty. But when it comes to a person’s right to self-identification … who am I to say they should not be called what they want to be called?
Accordingly, I refer to people by their preferred pronouns in my news coverage – and in my interpersonal interactions – and I encourage others to do the same. Whether you agree with the individual expression or not, it’s the respectful thing to do. The courteous thing to do. The right thing to do.
Of course, it is important to recognize such courtesy cannot – and should not – ever be compelled.
Which is why I am pleased to see the University of South Carolina recognizing this “necessary limit” in its “pronoun policy.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has many hats – including that St. Louis Cardinals’ lid (with matching Stan Musial jersey) pictured above.
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