". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Calif. Library Kicks Out Event Speaker for ‘Misgendering’

August 23, 2023

A California library is taking flak for silencing an event speaker for supposedly “misgendering” biological men who identify as transgender.

Sophia Lorey, a female rights advocate, was speaking Sunday at a Moms for Liberty of Yolo County and California Family Council event entitled “Forum on Fair and Safe Sports for Girls,” hosted at the Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library in Davis, California, when the library director kicked her out. Lorey was addressing “the physiological advantage of male athletes” who identify as transgender and the “emotional and psychological impact on girls when men can play on their sports teams.” She was interrupted by a male audience member who asked, “Are you going to misgender people throughout the entire thing? … Are we allowing misgendering?”

Lorey requested that questions be saved until the end of the presentation but was cut off by a library director Scott Love, who insisted that the library’s code of conduct forbids “misgendering.” He went on to explain, “California state law recognizes trans women as women. They are protected under state law. Our policy talks about treating people with respect, and if you are misgendering somebody, that is not respectful.” An attorney named Erin Friday, who identified herself as “a Democrat of 37 years,” reminded Love that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to free speech and asked him to please point out the section of the California legal code which abrogates that right, temporarily silencing the librarian.

Lorey was permitted to continue and shared her childhood dream of playing soccer, a dream which she was able to pursue with practice, discipline, and hard work. She then noted, “But current 10-year-old girls cannot live out this same dream as long as men are allowed to compete in women’s sports.” Lorey’s audience, some of them carrying LGBT and trans Pride flags, began shouting her down, telling her, “No, no, you can’t say that.” She amended her phrasing to “biological men,” but was told, “You can’t say that, either.” Love gave Lorey a “warning” that if she continued using the terms “men” or “biological men” to refer to biological men who identify as transgender she would be asked to leave.

Lorey continued, “Allowing biological men in women’s sports does not create an equal playing field, but instead robs young biological girls of their athletic aspirations.” At that point, Lorey was ordered to leave. When asked why he was kicking her out, Love responded, “Because you were misgendering. You were talking about men in female sports.” Lorey and Friday argued with Love for some minutes, with Friday noting, “We all have First Amendment rights, whether you believe in what I believe or whether I believe in what you believe.” Love still told them to leave.

Lawyer Julie Hamill, founder of the Alliance of Los Angeles County Parents, commented on the event, “Telling a speaker they cannot use language aligned with a particular viewpoint is the opposite of a viewpoint-neutral restriction.” Jonathan Zacherson, a Roseville City school board member and founder of Repone California Schools, posted a copy of the Mary L. Stephens Davis Branch Library’s code of conduct, noting that it purports to “provides access for all to ideas that inform, entertain and inspire,” but nowhere mentions “misgendering.”

Speaking Tuesday night on “Washington Watch,” Lorey explained, “The whole goal was just to let those in the community be aware of how women and girls are being put in unfair and unsafe situations in sports. And I was the emcee and the first speaker, and within about a minute of me speaking, the event was shut down.” She continued, “There really was no rationale because they were violating my First Amendment right. They claimed I was misgendering someone by stating men should not be in girls’ sports, and yet no one should be punished for stating a biological fact.”

When asked if she’s taking legal action against the library, Lorey responded, “We’re currently looking into our best option, because government officials should not be able to remove my freedom of speech. So we’re taking those next steps.”

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.