Peter Vlaming was a successful French teacher in the West Point School District in Virgina in 2018, until he was fired for refusing to use male pronouns demanded by a female student.
In 2018, one of Peter’s female students decided to identify as male.
Peter went out of his way to accommodate this student. He said he would use the student’s preferred male-sounding name and avoid using pronouns.
But Peter simply could not use male pronouns for a female student because it would contradict his core beliefs. This was about more than just pronouns; it was about what pronouns mean. In speech, after all, pronouns identify us as either male or female.
Peter couldn’t in good conscience use male pronouns to identify a female student. At the same time, he made it clear that he wanted to work with the student by avoiding pronouns that may cause offense.
But that wasn’t good enough for the school district. It didn’t care about how Peter treated the student. It was on a crusade for conformity. It wanted to force Peter to speak words he disagreed with by using pronouns for the student—even when that student was not present. [emphasis in original]
In 2019, he sued, represented by lawyers from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and that case has since been slowly winding its way through the courts. In 2021, after the Circuit Court for King William County dismissed the case, the ADL appealed. This month the Virginia Supreme Court accepted that appeal and agreed to hear the case.
It is one thing if a person wants to make believe he or she is a different sex than their biological genes. This might be irrational and counter-factual, but in a free society, as long as that person harms no one it is his or hers right to do so. To force others however to endorse that decision is authoritarian and wrong. Others have the right to disagree, and to say so. This effort by the sexually perverse community to enforce their beliefs by government edict must stop.
This case also illustrates that this effort has been going on for years, with most Americans refusing to face it or deciding to look the other way, in order to go along to get along. Only in the past two years, since the Wuhan panic made the authoritarian goals of the left blatantly obvious, have Americans finally begun to notice. Whether that recognition is in time to save freedom, or too late, remains an open question. Fixing things now will certainly be more difficult because we did not act sooner.
Nonetheless, kudos to Vlaming for standing up for his right to speak his mind, as he sees fit, not as some government official orders him to. Sadly however I am not hopeful for his lawsuit. The legal rulings in his case up to now appear designed to interpret the law as narrowly as possible so as to defeat his effort. Whether the Virginia Supreme Court will do different remains unknown.
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