Here are some arguments on why political correctness doesn’t have a place in public discourse. For those who spoke on bill 2012-296 at the city council hearings last year, reports came in that there was an attempt at censorship by some of those within our borders who served on the Jacksonville Committee for Equality, including manipulative control by city council members in undermining those who, like the LGBT citizens, spoke out about abuse and threats they had encountered over the years. One of the city council members compared the LGBT population to citizens in Egypt. Whether anyone at the time realized it or not, the insults weren’t just directed to LGBT citizens in Jacksonville but also at Egyptians; Kimberly Daniels, one of the city council members, stated she had heard that some of the Egyptians practiced bestiality and necrophilia; implying that gay people did the same. The outrage was felt throughout the room, and while there were many unkind and untruths spoken, ranging from some of the city council members to those in the audience, the LGBT voices seemed nullified in the eyes of those who were homophobic. The rules had to be followed. Anyone who spoke at the city council hearings had three minutes without uninterrupted time by either party from the audience, which wasn’t always a practice adhered to by some of the city council members. Much debate ensued on whether or not LGBT individuals were presented favorably as citizens. Destiny children had their theories. Those who had impressions based on absolutely minimal historical fact and mostly false rhetoric were determined to lead the process under the assumption that political correctness would nullify any negative perceptions.
The measure to pass the bill failed, as did the amended bill.
Two city council members, Denise Lee and Warren Jones, voted in favor of the bill, encompassing the fully inclusive language and, if passed, would have protected LGBT citizens; the watered-down version failed a 10-9 vote.
It became pretty evident that the arguments presented weren’t enough. Very little focus was placed on statistics from valuable sources, such as Centers for American Progress (CAP), SAGE, and GLAAD, including our local organizations, such as JASMYN. The civic leaders who spoke up didn’t present economic arguments other than to say, “It is the right thing to do.” While that may be what the LGBT citizens and the community of their allies believed, it wasn’t a sentiment shared among mainstream Jacksonville. Civic leaders could have easily presented measured data to support the need to vote in favor of bill 296.
Reports came in from a few individuals that the civic leaders took measures into their own hands and moved through matters very quickly, barring very little time for educational efforts by those who were well-equipped to dialogue about the differences in the bill and the proposed amendment, causing the Committee for Equality to lose control of the process.
Hours of deliberation and months later, the community of LGBT citizens felt betrayed. The discussions among those who talked about the process complained they had been misled by those on the inside which served on the Jacksonville Committee for Equality. The Jacksonville Committee for Equality defended themselves and felt they had lost control – despite the well-intentioned efforts of those who spoke out on behalf of the bill. The LGBT community learned too late that somebody had replaced the fully inclusive bill with the amended version and that every measure would be taken to include the full inclusive language at another time. Historically, this failed in Orlando some years ago, as it was pointed out by Equality Florida’s executive director, Nadine Smith, and Joe Saunders, who now serves House District 49 in Florida.
The transgender community felt deceived, and for good reasons. The population of transgender persons runs the highest risk for homicides worldwide, and according to GLAAD, 45% of reported hate murders were Transgender women.
The LGBT community didn’t have any idea what had happened last year. The LGBT citizens and some of the allies lost faith in the process, which brings us to the same concerns; the newly formed committee has some hoops to jump if they are to win back the trust of those who felt marginalized and thrown under the bus.
Is it any wonder why the transgender community of Jacksonville was angered by anyone from within the borders agreeing to the proposed amendment? Our community members claimed they did not see this coming and expressed sadness over the shift. Will they be in control this time around?
When transgender citizens could not have their feelings validated without being viewed as unfavorable by even those from the LGB community and allies, they experienced trauma. Claims that the negative views from the transgender population affected the political platform and that they took the criticisms personally. Some individuals will not speak out for fear of being verbally attacked.
In defense of the LGBT citizens, not one individual was prepared to hear city council members pass degrading remarks at those who reported incidences of being fired because of their sexual orientation or whose property had been vandalized. The LGBT citizens reported the incidences and were led to believe that their behavior (for merely having a sexual orientation other than that of heterosexuality and gender nonconformity) caused the vandalism and were the reasons for losing their jobs. What would this mean for heterosexuals who are gender non-conforming? How many of these individuals have experienced marginalization? Is anyone listening? Does anyone care enough to ask these questions within this population who might be mislabeled as gay and denied equal opportunities?
Lastly, transgender citizens were angered by political correctness enforced upon them by some of the LGB population and allies. One such individual, Professor Steven Lance Stoll, spoke up and challenged the city council members on why they were following a book written back in the Bronze Age. Did city council members vote against the bill and the watered-down version because of their religious beliefs?
Currently, nine city council members were honored at First Baptist Church (FBP) for heeding advice to vote against the bill. Please visit YouTube for more information on FBC honoring the city council members.
Stella Morabito from The Witherspoon Institute (August 13, 2013) published an article on Dissecting Public Discourse, pointing out that the problem with political correctness (PC) is that “we all perpetuate political correctness when we succumb to the fear of contradicting PC” truth.”
What happens in groups? Is it normal to witness self-assignments without any votes cast? What makes some of these individuals privileged? Granted, some individuals now have experience from which to draw that they did not have last year. Will they listen to those who raise concerns, or are they more concerned, once again, about behavior, personalizing the criticism received by those who do speak up to raise concerns?
I was one of these individuals because I called people to task and asked many questions. I removed myself from the committee after realizing my voice would not count. I was viewed as politically attacking and inappropriate, even though I raised concerns based on rumors circulating last year and public comments by LGBT citizens. My overall concern with the process is, will the floor communicate with the committee? Will those questioning the process encounter repeated harassment with emails calling for private one-on-one meetings?
Morabito talks about psychological manipulation and PCs’ correlation to suppression and equates it to bacteria.
Morabito dissects the outcome and pointedly refers to this as producing an illusion that shifts public opinion by heavily saturating them with an impression, ‘opinion cascade,’ as she calls it. The outcome; Regulating views. Politicians understand twin processes well enough to know their effect on public opinion and the political process.
Morabito writes that in 1999, an article on ‘availability cascade’ was published on a ‘related concept’ in Stanford Law Review. The purpose is to prevent people from thinking freely and falling victim to practicing survival mode for social acceptance.
Some people within our community have been successfully silenced in this manner through social isolation and vilified by those who might have experienced the fear of going against PC.
Some of us watched and observed the toxic effect this had on our community and soon realized that some players classified themselves as our allies. A rhetorical question some of us had was, “Are some of our allies dispelling truth?” It seemed some of them were propagating the idea that censoring behavior, expression, and individual style must meet their standards for social acceptance. Are they correct? Are they suppressing voices within our LGBT community? Do they have the right to do so? Who grants them this privilege while we stand by and recognize that even among some of these allies, they do not understand the gay culture? It is even more disturbing that within our LGBT community, we have members who want to compare LGBT rights to the Black race issues. A Black person will tell you there isn’t any comparison because the race issue continues today. They cannot escape from being Black. Why is there a need to continue to focus on the religious argument and play the race card? Why are we not educating the public on the different types of sexual orientations since anyone of any color and creed can have variations of sexual orientations? Is it because religious evangelists have successfully brainwashed individuals from birth through tainted, hateful rhetoric? Isn’t this equally as damaging as any other addiction, or is it deliberate, and can we call this out as abuse? Isn’t it disturbing that people raised with fundamental religious views have taken their own lives or those of others because of their sexual orientation?
Morabito points out Cass Sunstein in a chapter of his book titled “On Rumors” (2009), referring to the “chilling effect” as a tactic and essentially doing everything he could to discredit Obamacare. Could we say this is what FBC and the Family Policy Council attempted?
What is Morabito’s recommendation in all of this? She suggests avoiding isolation. Instead, doing the work by conversing with others in the community to build a stronger voice. Morabito writes, “If enough people come out of isolation and shed the fear of speaking their minds, a genuine cascade of truth will ensue.”
Social media allows for this opportunity. However, some LGBT citizens and allies have been verbally attacked on FB by those who viewed their remarks as negative. Who are these destiny children? Why are they so afraid? Do they believe that speaking the truth and raising concerns will result in adverse outcomes?
To read more about Stella Morabito, please refer to her article on Public Discourse. It is an excellent read. The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, and The Human Life Review feature some of Morabito’s articles.
The information outside of any references to Morabito’s article does not reflect her views. These are views gathered from various LGBT members in the community who, over time, have expressed similar sentiments along with the author.
This article was updated on June 5, 2023.