These days we are told that people have an absolute right to define their own identities. It’s become incumbent upon us to call the person with the pronounced Adam’s Apple and 5:00 o’clock shadow “Mary,” if that’s what he (I mean she) demands. Pronouns are to be respected and rigorously adhered to, and questioning someone’s expressed identity is tantamount to a hate crime.
Except, when it isn’t.
Earlier this week, a man who shall not be named walked into a gay bar and shot five people to death. Because it was a gay bar, the immediate suggestion was that the shooter was a homophobe. Pundits, primarily on the left, repeated the same rhetoric about how hateful and bigoted conservatives had caused the bloodshed. We — conservatives, I mean — were guilty of these five deaths because many of us opposed same sex marriage, or drag queen story hour for toddlers, or allowing adolescents to get what until recently was known as a total mastectomy but is now daintily packaged as “top surgery.”
Our “hate speech” inspired the white-cis-heterosexual-male and likely Christian shooter to murder innocent bar patrons. End of story.
READ MORE — Christine Flowers: Sympathy for the Devil
But something terribly inconvenient then occurred. The defense attorney for the shooter issued a statement that his client identified as “non-binary” and used the pronouns “they/their/them.”
Given the progressives’ desire to respect pronouns and identity, you’d expect that this would be the least troubling part of this tragic tale.
Reader, you would be mistaken.
As soon as the folks who normally respect pronouns got wind of the shooters’ preference, they balked. Instead of accepting that this homicidal felon identified as a homicidal binary felon, they cast about for a philosophical life preserver. The one they came up with, first expressed in a CNN panel helmed by Alisyn Cammarata, was that the shooter was lying. They suggested that it was a transparent (pun intended) attempt to craft some sort of criminal defense to avoid a hate crime charge.
Social justice warriors who regularly play the identity card were unprepared to deal with the inevitable situation when they would be the ones to say, “You’re not really a guy, girl, gay, lesbian, intersex, queer, questioning, etc.”
In the first place, that’s a rather stupid suggestion from the sort of person who gets his legal training from repeated viewings of Law and Order. A gay man can be guilty of a hate crime against another gay man. Identity, in this case, is not dispositive.
And then we have the blatant attempt to salvage the narrative that it’s evil cisgender white conservatives who are responsible for the tragic deaths. The progressives were desperate to talk their way out of a dead end where their preferred weapon — identity — had been turned and used against them.
When I opined that it was interesting how liberals were willing to call a man who identified as binary a liar, they called me a variety of things. “Nut” was one of the nicer ones.
Which proves my point. Social justice warriors who regularly play the identity card were unprepared to deal with the inevitable situation when they would be the ones to say, “You’re not really a guy, girl, gay, lesbian, intersex, queer, questioning, etc.” They refused to admit they were even saying it.
And in so doing, they opened up a Pandora’s (she/her) Box.
Christine Flowers is an attorney and lifelong Philadelphian. @flowerlady61