Portland's Attack on Gendered Pronouns Is About Forcing Obedience | Opinion

The Portland City Council voted to excise gendered pronouns from their city charter, replacing them with gender-neutral ones. On the surface, this seems like frivolous virtue-signaling. The truth is that it is much more dangerous than that.

In an effort to feign more inclusivity, Portland officials purged "his" or "her" from the municipal document. In its place are gender-free titles, like "mayor" or "auditor," when referring to a city role, and the more generic "their" instead of masculine and feminine pronouns.

"This important step will help make our documents more inclusive of all gender identities," tweeted Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

This move seems like a self-serving way for progressives to signal their virtue. It might be brushed off as a vain attempt to show they've "evolved" on gender identities because they believe genders to merely be a social construct. The activists who word-police documents no one reads are the very same ones who put their own pronouns in their Twitter bios and email signatures when their gender identity is already clear.

But this move isn't merely a giant virtue signal. It's a strategic attempt to force societal change. When you change the language, it's easier to win arguments. And that's their goal.

Progressives argue that gender is fluid—that one day, you might identify as male and the next day as something else. Sometimes you're even a transgender nonbinary/gender transcendent mermaid queen-king. Think I'm making that up, or being hyperbolic? That's how a past Democratic National Convention speaker identifies.

Taking away gendered pronouns is an attempt to force society to accept an activist view that gender doesn't really exist, and that there are no inherent differences between men and women. It's much easier to claim gender is "fluid" when you take away societal choices of "he" or "she" that one might use. It's a common activist tactic and some play right into it.

When Antifa and other agitators burned businesses to the ground and attempted to kill police, some on the Left felt the actions were justified. They wanted to win the argument by taking away the option of even condemning the violence, instead referring to the civil unrest and protests as "peaceful." By singularly advancing that talking point, it took away even the choice of so much as referring to the violence. They were all peaceful protests.

Downtown Portland in August 2020
Downtown Portland in August 2020 Nathan Howard/Getty Images

There have been plenty of arguments on why the concept of gender fluidity might be dangerous or unwise. I'm not interested in diving into that argument because it's not as important as activists attempting to bully you into a position on the subject in the first instance.

I believe in a healthy marketplace of ideas. If activists believe gender to be fluid, they have every right to make their argument, advocate their position and convince others to join them. Have at it.

But they don't have the right to force everyone into adopting their position. Their feelings are their own. They can have them, if they choose. But we don't have to adopt them, or even recognize them. Conversely, we can't force them to hold a position or a feeling if they don't want to do so.

Word-policing, even in documents few will ever read, forces a position under the guise of inclusivity. It's not inclusive; it's an abusive strategy to shame people into adopting their position for fear of being labeled bigots. And it won't stop with a city charter.

That fringe progressives in Portland think the concept of gender fluidity is somehow settled should be considered as meaningless as their concept of "peaceful protests." Forcing a change to our language in order to avoid a debate they know they can't win is cowardly. And ultimately, it won't work.

Normally, language changes take decades because society has to accept the reasons behind the change. Perspectives need to change, and that takes generations. Thankfully, the activists have their work cut out for them.

Jason Rantz is a frequent guest on Fox News and is the host of the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH Seattle, heard weekday afternoons. You can subscribe to his podcast here and follow him on Twitter: @jasonrantz.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.