HEADLINES

Pronouns vs Free Speech

Kyle B. Reyes | Feature Writer | In The Zone

THERE IS A LAW IN CANADA THAT WAS PASSED BACK IN 2016 CALLED BILL C-16. THIS LAW “AMENDS THE CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACT TO ADD GENDER IDENTITY AND GENDER EXPRESSION TO THE LIST OF PROHIBITED GROUNDS OF DISCRIMINATION.” THIS BASICALLY MEANS THOSE WHO IDENTIFY AS NON-GENDERED INDIVIDUALS ARE PROTECTED BY THE LAW FROM DISCRIMINATION.

Before I explain this law any further, it’s best to know what exactly “gender identity” really means. Gender identity is defined as “a person’s perception of having a particular gender, which may or may not correspond with their birth sex.” Some genders that most people are using now include: Agender (genderless) Androgyne, Bigender, Genderqueer etc.

You can see news about this on social media. One news story talked about a 52- year-old man who identifies himself not just as a girl but a six- year old girl. The man who identified himself as a Filipino was also making headlines locally. Though it may not be equivalent to gender, it still gives the idea of what gender identity really is.

These genders have their specific pronouns as well. These pronouns include “ze”, “zir”, “they” etc. According to the supporters of the law the use of non–gender pronouns is equivalent to giving respect to those who wish to have someone use those pronouns. Meaning, if you don’t use those preferred pronouns you are immediately disrespecting the person.

Even with its good intentions, it still leaves many people baffled. According Professor Jordan Peterson from the University of Toronto, this law was ideologically driven and gives the impression that gender is not based on biology. According to Peterson “it is a tenet of the ideology that identity is socially constructed.” With this in mind Peterson refuses to use any of these non-gendered pronouns, thus being a subject of protests by those who support not only the bill but the ideology behind it.

I know very little about this new trend of rising non-gender pronouns but as far as I’m concerned the bill itself is not justified. I can honestly agree with Peterson when he added that this was against freedom of speech, mainly because the law is telling people to use non-gender languages. This is an attack on freedom of speech because it tells people what to say.

My beliefs in politics are more or less Libertarian, which means that I believe that people can do whatever they want as long as they don’t use the government to hurt anybody else. In this case, people who support the law are using the government to suppress the freedom of expression by imposing “Forced Speech” onto the masses and that just doesn’t sit well with me.

Whether this trend of non-gender pronouns is justifiable or not, the point is that no one should ever be told what to say and what not to say. Freedom of speech is a very important factor in Democracy. It helps build a nation by listening to the ideas of every other person living on the same land. I could honestly care less about how persons identify themselves but if you tell me that I should use a language that I don’t agree with, I will have to fight for my right to speak.

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