One might argue that changing — or evolving — gender definitions can be confusing. But is that confusion worth the threat of violence?
Federal prosecutors say a California man threatened to bomb Merriam-Webster. Yes, Merriam-Webster, as in the famous dictionary publisher. They say the dictionary’s gender definitions led to the outrage and threat.
The 34-year-old Rossmoor man faces one count of interstate communication of threats to commit violence, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins said they believe the man “sent a multitude of anonymous threatening and despicable messages.”
They say the messages related to the LGBTQ community and the sender “intended to evoke fear and division,” she said.
The criminal complaint, USDOJ says, alleges that between Oct. 2 and Oct. 8, 2021, Springfield-based Merriam-Webster, Inc. received various threatening messages and comments. Those messages demonstrated “bias against specific gender identities.
‘Gender identity’ seemed to be the trigger
The release states someone left this comment on the dictionary site’s definition for woman:
It is absolutely sickening that Merriam-Webster now tells blatant lies and promotes anti-science propaganda. There is no such thing as ‘gender identity.’ The imbecile who wrote this entry should be hunted down and shot.
Prosecutors also claimed the man sent a message through the site’s “Contact Us” page stating the company’s headquarters “should be shot up and bombed.” The message accused the company of caving to “cultural Marxist, anti-science tranny [sic] agenda” and of altering the definition of female “as part of the Left’s efforts to corrupt and degrade the English language and deny reality.”
The message stated it would be “poetic justice” if someone would “storm your officers and shoot up the place.”
Wow. You can’t make this stuff up.
Gender identity does exist
Many of us don’t fully understand gender identity. There are parts of it I don’t understand. I may never fully understand it.
But just because my gender definitions might not always match up with someone else’s, it doesn’t invalidate their point of view. (It doesn’t invalidate mine, either. But I don’t have the right to demand that everyone adopt mine.)
As an FBI agent said in the release, “Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but repeatedly threatening to kill people, as has been alleged, takes it to a new level.”
The issue of gender identity is not going to disappear. Evolving gender definitions, as much as some may not want to hear about them, are going to continue to be topics of discussion.
You’re entitled to believe — as many do — that there can only be one gender or another. You can continue to believe — as many do — that ones sexual characteristics should be the only measure of one’s gender.
But not everyone will agree. Those who feel they were born into the wrong gender or who do not identify with that gender, will always disagree.
Therefore, we might as well stop for a second and rethink things. Your reality won’t always match with someone else’s.
I can’t put myself in a transgender person’s place to fully understand their position. It would be so much easier if all of us possessed that level of empathy.
The best we can do and what the law requires us to do is respect each other’s differences and govern ourselves accordingly.