June 7, 2023

In Brief: Why I’m Done With ‘Preferred Pronouns’

It is beyond time to stand up to the trans lobby that means to deprive women of their spaces and rights.

Popular commentator Megyn Kelly once didn’t think it was a big deal to use a person’s preferred pronouns, even thinking it would help. She explained her new stance in a video, from which the following commentary is adapted and excerpted.

I was an early proponent of using preferred pronouns as far back as the early 2000s. Of saying “she” when I knew the truth was “he.” It seemed harmless, and I had no wish to cause offense. Trans people were tortured enough, it seemed to me, by nature of their dysphoria and society’s disdain for them in general. So I complied. I went along with it.

I didn’t see the harm.

By 2016 we were debating bills to stop trans access to certain bathrooms, which I covered from the news desk at Fox, siding with the trans community. How does it affect our lives as women if here or there a trans person uses a stall in our bathroom? These people aren’t bothering anyone — why wouldn’t we accommodate them?

I didn’t see the harm.

In 2018 while at NBC, I hosted shows on trans people, one of which had a segment on “trans kids.” I led the audience in cheering for them, encouraging them to own who they are. I used approved terms like “gender-affirming care” for medicinal gender manipulations, “cis” to refer to natural-born women and men, “assigned male at birth” instead of “born male.” I smiled and listened politely as a guest told me “gender is just a social construct.” I wanted to be supportive of those who were suffering. I would use this more evolved language.

I didn’t see the harm.

But by the time we began the Megyn Kelly Show podcast in September 2020, the warning signs were everywhere.

Kelly went on to discuss the “social contagion gripping teenage and adolescent girls,” the sports controversies of biological males winning at female sports, and the indoctrination in American schools — including where her own kids attended. Then there came the sports injuries, the sexual assaults, and the images of mutilated kids. She spoke of the elevation of Lia Thomas and the violence against Riley Gaines and Kellie-Jay Keen.

Kellie-Jay Keen, a 5'1" English mother of four and devoted advocate for women’s rights, who came on my show recently and spoke truth so plainly it moved me profoundly, has been repeatedly targeted. In March, she was doused with tomato juice as a mob moved in yelling “F*** you, c***,” prepared to cause her physical harm rather than let her speak in New Zealand. Had she not been rushed out by police, she clearly would have been brutalized.

And there I was, along with millions of others, watching and learning and finally seeing it: There is the harm.

At that point, Kelly fought back tears before boldly continuing.

It is beyond time to stand up to the trans lobby that means to deprive women of their spaces and rights. To the men who pose as trans women to gain access to places like sorority houses only to exploit the women strong-armed into welcoming them. To the men who grow their hair long, throw on a dress, pop on their TikTok filter, and then threaten to kill us if we object to them coming into our private spaces. To the mutilation of our children by money-driven doctors, to the rape of female prisoners, and to the theft of our medals and opportunities to win.

How can we stand up to any of this if we are complicit? How can we fight for facts if we participate in this fiction that a man can become a woman, that “transitioning” is possible? How can we then try to say no, “she” cannot come into our locker rooms or bathrooms or swimming lanes or sororities? Or try to say no, Target, “she” can buy “her” bathing suit with the extra fabric to hide “her penis” somewhere else? It doesn’t make sense. Because it isn’t true. And we know it’s not true. And to pretend that it is true is to foster a lie that’s hurting too many people — almost all of them, girls. Women and girls.

They say pronouns are a gateway drug. They open the door to these lies that lead to real harm to real females. They’re a clever rhetorical trick that forces you to cede the argument about women’s spaces before you’ve even spoken one word of substance.

Kelly explained that she still doesn’t want to bully or intentionally offend anyone, but she concludes powerfully:

I have resolved to base my conversations around gender on the same tenets that already govern my life: truth and reality. I will not use preferred pronouns, a decision motivated by a growing alarm over women’s rights and the safety of children. I will speak to a trans person kindly and with empathy. In their presence I will likely try to avoid pronouns altogether, as I have no wish to intentionally provoke or upset anyone.

But I will not take this gateway drug anymore. Because I have a daughter. Because I am a woman — an adult human female. Because for far too long, I failed to see the harm and therefore helped cause it.

National Review subscribers can read the whole thing here.

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