Jon Caldara is a regular columnist for The Denver Post. Or rather, he was until last week, when he was abruptly fired after publishing a rambling op-ed that attacked LGTBQ inclusion in public schools.
While the newspaper hasn’t clarified exactly why Caldara was let go, he believes it has to do with that fact that, in his op-ed, he argued that calling people by their
preferred proper pronouns violates his free speech. Then he accused LGBTQ people of being too “easily triggered, perpetually offended.”
In a Facebook post shared shortly after his firing, Caldara explains: “What seemed to be the last straw for my column was my insistence that there are only two sexes and my frustration that to be inclusive of the transgendered (even that word isn’t allowed) we must lose our right to free speech.”
Just for the record, it’s not that the word “transgendered” isn’t allowed, as Caldara claims. It’s that it’s incorrect. In its glossary of terms, GLAAD explains:
The adjective transgender should never have an extraneous “-ed” tacked onto the end. An “-ed” suffix adds unnecessary length to the word and can cause tense confusion and grammatical errors. It also brings transgender into alignment with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer. You would not say that Elton John is “gayed” or Ellen DeGeneres is “lesbianed,” therefore you would not say Chaz Bono is “transgendered.”
In his Facebook rant, Caldera goes on to affirm that he is “strongly pro-gay marriage,” and has “friends, family, and employees from the LGBT community.” He says he doesn’t care what bathroom anyone uses. Nor does he care how they identify. Which is all great! Until…
“But to force us to use inaccurate pronouns, to force us to teach our kids that there are more than two sexes, to call what is plainly a man in a dress, well, not a man in a dress violates our right of speech,” he says.
How can you not care how another person identifies but then accuse them of using “inaccurate pronouns” and judge them for how they present themselves?
“YOU are free to wear a dress, and quite sincerely, more power to you! That’s power over your own self. You are sovereign,” Caldara continues. “And so am I. Which means YOU cannot choose my words.”
OK, let’s unpack that for a second…
So Caldera is all for inclusion… except when it means actually changing little things, like words, to be more inclusive. Then suddenly it’s a violation of his personal beliefs. Or something.
Caldera goes on to say that liberals who once “fought hard to protect free speech” now “fight hard to mandate speech because, heaven forbid, someone be offended or have their feelings hurt.”
It sounds like the only person here whose feelings are hurt is Caldera.