I had a very interesting exchange with someone in the comment thread to my Federalist piece on Ronald Reagan. It seems to perfectly illustrate the chasm between a progressive and a conservative on the transgender issue.

My answers appear in color.

So here’s the thing from where I sit. It’s not so much the difference of opinion, it’s what that difference is. I can’t understand, and never will, why anyone would support any kind of speech when there is speech that has harmful consequences.

But that’s the whole point of the 1st Amendment. We aren’t allowed to harm each other physically, but our country is predicated on the right to speak freely. I may hate what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. What if the alt-right somehow got control and banned words like “gay” as hate speech?

And in the area of LGBTs, the speech that is constantly thrown at them, from sources like the Federalist, has harmful consequences. LGBTs have been and are being beaten and killed all over the world and are being discriminated against in employment, housing, etc. Even right here in Utah. Allowing any kind of anti-LGBT speech just plays into that and fuels it.

Again, to change the 1st Amendment to protect one group puts that same group at risk if someone else later is able to change it against them.


Also from where I sit, it seems that the ones that are most vocal about freedom of speech and complaining about being politically correct are the same ones that are also anti-LGBT, which is the majority of the right-wing.

You seem to be conflating opposition to gay marriage with being anti-LGBT. I do not support gay marriage and yet I’ve been to three gay weddings. I have my views, but if someone I care about asks me to be part of something important to them, I’m there.


I know that this may sound intolerant but, all speech should not be tolerated and just because someone has the right does not make it right. I can’t imagine that you condone all the anti-Mormon hate speech being allowed and the consequences the church and it’s members have dealt with for 180 years. You of all people, being a Mormon, should understand that.

I don’t condone anything odious, but I will fight to the death anyone’s right to make anti-Mormon remarks. If we change the 1st Amendment to protect one group, that group is vulnerable when someone else comes to power who thinks saying good things about it is hate speech (because it’s promoting white, male religion or something).


As far as the “trans lobby”, I just can’t get my head around why conservatives are so obsessed with it. I think part of it is that they lost the whole marriage equality nonsense and had to go after the next in line. This world is full of all kinds of people from one extreme to another and everything in-between. That will never change. And the right’s obsession surely isn’t going to change it. What difference does it make how someone lives their life? Jaeden Smith wearing a skirt to school isn’t hurting anyone. Caitlyn Jenner transitioning isn’t physically harming anyone. Laverne Cox isn’t doing a thing to anyone but, those that pointlessly taking issue with all of that are. People like Walt Heyer are. People like Mike Pence are. People like Kim Davis are. Sources like the Federalist are. Every organized anti-LGBT hate group, all christians btw, and their are dozens of them, are. I’m not aware that there are any organized hate groups by LGBTs fueling hate towards christians.

Again, I think you conflate a sincere desire to understand with hate. It does matter because either it is a mental disturbance and the consequences are too great not to realize it, or it isn’t a mental illness and the consequences are too great not to realize it. If I become convinced that it is not a mental illness, I will take on the entire right wing. I don’t care what anyone says. I care about the fact that real people are undergoing real suffering and we have an obligation to mitigate that as much as possible. The only way to do that is to identify the problem correctly, which we can’t do without understanding what’s really going on.


I’m not interested in conflicting science and medical opinions because in the end, it doesn’t really matter.

Why aren’t you interested in conflicting science and medical opinions? Isn’t that the whole point? My over-arching concern is giving puberty-blocking hormones to kids or intervening in their physical development in some other way before they are old enough to make the decision for themselves. In the meantime, anyone who wants to wear a dress can wear a dress.

You say you’re not interested so you probably won’t look at this, but it’s the best, most even-handed piece I’ve ever read about transgender issues. The reporter respects Brynn Tannehill, as do I, he is non-judgmental about transgender adults, as am I, and he focuses on the research regarding kids. He must be doing something right because Brynn Tannehill communicated with him and revised information she had published after doing so.

What’s Missing From the Conversation About Transgender Kids – New York Magazine

If you’ll forgive me, I think the truly callous position is not to care.


This is the end of the exchange (at least for now). If you’d like to read the rest of it, you can find it in the comment thread here.


  1. One person’s freedoms end where the other person’s toes begin. Thus the flap about bathrooms and transgender students. For example, adolescent girls are notoriously self-conscious. Sharing a locker room and changing or showering with a boy who identifies as a girl could make many of them terribly uncomfortable. Do we ignore that? The Diane Sawyer special with Caitlin Jenner featured a school superintendent who had created boy only, girl only, and gender neutral restrooms and locker rooms in his school. For adolescents, this might be the best approach. As for adults – if you are an adult, get over it and live and let live.

  2. Here’s more of our conversation that you don’t seem to want to reply to. And, I find it seriously disheartening that you would take it upon yourself to use me to further your agenda without asking me if I was okay with you doing so.


    I find our conversations very interesting. I have not once said you are wrong or insinuated that you are callous. I’ll I have done is share what I see going on on this world. I also find it interesting, like I previously stated, that it is the right-minded that seem to have the biggest issue with being PC and supporters of “free speech” no matter how damaging and harmful. Of course, that’s because it is the right-minded that spew the majority of damaging and harmful rhetoric. The Federalist, case in point. And the best arguments you can come up with are “what ifs” and don’t seem to want to do anything about it, especially using the law, even though other countries have, successfully, done exactly that. It’s an observable fact that hate speech is dangerous and harmful. (Hate speech is speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation and it incites violence and prejudice) I don’t now how you can present yourself as “gay friendly” when you belong to one of the most powerful entities behind the entire anti-LGBT movement. the Mormon church, and have your articles posted on what is obviously an anti-LGBT website. I would understand this if you were taking them to task but, I don’t see where you are. You say you are against same gender marriage (which there is no logical reason to be) but, you go to same gender weddings. The Barbra Streisand movie comes to mind, “The Mirror Has Two Faces”.

    “just as I am not going to change a deeply held belief based on what someone else says”.
    That’s why I said I’m not interested in conflicting science and medical opinions. In the end they don’t matter.

    1. Weird. I sent you a reply earlier, but it doesn’t look like it went through. Just now sitting down to respond in full.

      Earlier reply:
      I saw the comment but didn’t have time to respond with adequate attention. I’m sorry. I should have let you know I wasn’t ignoring you. My plan was to sit down today after I get all my Saturday stuff done, and I still will.

      If I have an agenda, it’s to bring information and clarity to a poorly understood subject, especially to the people who follow me and tend to lean conservative. I thought exactly what I said, that our exchange was a good illustration of the opposing points of view. I think it’s easy to have harsh feelings if you’re thinking about a group you don’t understand, but if you see how one individual thinks and feels, you’re more likely to have empathy.

      I don’t see how it’s using you to copy and paste a publicly available conversation. I copied it with no changes and without using your name.

      You’re welcome to add any part of our conversation to my post, past or present.

      1. It’s disingenuous to say you haven’t said (or implied) I was wrong. There’s nothing wrong with saying I’m wrong, and, clearly, unless we disagree with each other, there’s nothing to debate. I think you’re wrong, you think I’m wrong. It’s not a crime.

        You say that nothing will ever change your opinion about hate speech, and I’m not trying to. I’m merely pointing out that the foundation of freedom in this country is freedom of speech, and be careful what you wish for if we lose it. I’m trying to say this lightly, but it’s alarming that you don’t seem to understand the 1st Amendment if you think there are exceptions for speech that someone doesn’t want to hear. From your responses, I can’t tell that you’re even reading what I write.

        I am not presenting myself in any way at all. I am who I am, and people can judge for themselves. You knew from the first interchange we had on my last article that I was Mormon, so it’s not clear to me why it’s suddenly an issue. You seem to be defining “gay-friendly” as “check your independent thought at the door.” I don’t check my independent thought for anything.

        Likewise you seem to be defining “anti-LGBT” as “you must think as I think or you’re the enemy.” That’s ridiculous. You say I’m unwilling to do anything about hate speech, especially using the law, but what I hear is that because you don’t like what I’m doing, it doesn’t count.

        No, I don’t support gay marriage, and, yes, I support my gay friends who marry. They don’t support the Mormon Church, but they support me living faithfully to it. Empathy. Neither of us is trying to “fix” the other. We have mutual respect. How can you argue with that?

        I don’t agree with the Federalist on everything, but it’s not my job to “take them to task.” The illusion of moral high ground is a real blind spot. I’d rather have conversations like the one we’re having, which I would point out, is thanks to the Federalist.

        I stand corrected on questioning your willingness to consider information that goes against your deeply held beliefs. So true. I as well have deeply held beliefs that are beyond challenge. You have my apologies.

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