Two politicians from Mexico traveled last week to Washington, D.C., to share chilling stories of how their left-wing government is punishing them for speaking out against gender ideology.
(Article cross-posted from Daily Signal)
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Salma Luévano, a Morena representative in Mexico’s Congress, identifies as a “trans woman.” Luévano has hurled charges of “gender-based political violence” against Quadri, one of the two visiting politicians who spoke during a private event in Washington held by the legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom International.
What “violence” had Quadri committed? He had tweeted about the unfairness of men who say they identify as women taking places from actual women in sports and politics.
Mexican law requires that women hold 50% of the seats in Congress; it counts Luévano and another “trans woman,” María Clemente García, as part of the female quota. Never mind that the two lawmakers are men—which is what Quadri objected to.
An election tribunal determined that Quadri had committed psychological, sexual, and digital violence against women. As punishment, he had to delete the offensive tweets, post court-drafted public apologies twice per day for 15 days, and complete courses on gender-based and transgender violence.
Quadri also had to register as a “gender-based political violator.” This last condition may prevent him from running again for office.
Another Critic Silenced
In charge since 2018, the Morena party demands that Mexican politicians and clergy alike support its socialist agenda. And it silences those who voice objections.
At the center of conflict again as a “trans woman,” Luévano has proposed legislation to amend Mexico’s Law on Religious Associations and Public Worship. The measure would punish churches whose traditional teachings on sexuality contradict the new gender ideology.
Luévano himself has no qualms about acting offensively. The transgender lawmaker appeared in Mexico’s Congress to present his proposal while costumed as a Catholic pope.
Cortés, then a member of Congress and last week a visitor to Washington, criticized the proposal as violating religious freedom. Worse, he referred to Luévano as “a man who self-ascribes as a woman.”
Like Quadri, his former colleague, Cortés also has been convicted of committing “political violence.” Cortés lost his final appeal Wednesday when the Superior Chamber upheld the lower court’s verdict and found him guilty of political, digital, symbolic, psychological, and sexual violence.
Politicians aren’t the only ones censored by the Mexican regime. The government also has muzzled Cardinal Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico City and Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez of Guadalajara.
Both cardinals were convicted of violating the nation’s Constitution when they told their Catholic flocks that the Morena party’s values are contrary to their faith. Two other bishops and a prominent priest were convicted on similar charges.
Censorship Grows Elsewhere
Of course, Mexico isn’t the only country where the Left’s embrace of gender ideology has led to censorship.
Erika Nieto, a Colombian YouTube star, posted a video discussing her belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. A Colombian court forced Nieto to remove the video after an activist complained. The Constitutional Court of Colombia reversed the lower court’s ruling, but not without a fight.
In England, the Rev. Bernard Randall lost his post as a school chaplain after he questioned the tenets of gender ideology in a sermon. Someone reported Randall to British anti-terrorist authorities. He sued the Church of England school over his dismissal, but lost in court.
And then there’s the high-profile case of Päivi Räsänen. She is the Finnish politician who faced criminal charges for social media posts she made in support of Biblical teachings on marriage and sexuality.
Meanwhile, a bill in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada, would empower the attorney general there to create “2SLGBTQI+ community safety zones.” There, “acts of intimidation” and distributing “hate propaganda” would be punishable by a fine of up to $25,000.
What qualifies? Is praying an act of intimidation in Canada? Is the Bible a kind of hate propaganda? Maybe so.
Our northern neighbor’s Supreme Court just handed down a decision in a case, Hansman v. Neufeld, which involved a defamation lawsuit and accusations of hate speech. A school board trustee, Barry Neufeld, objected to the sexual orientation and gender identity curriculum in use in British Columbia schools.
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Neufeld was accused of having “bigoted” and “transphobic” views. In its ruling against Neufeld, the court stated that “the transgender community is undeniably a marginalized group in Canadian society.”
UN’s Internal Struggles
These cases illustrate what critics of gender ideology have argued for years: It is, at bottom, totalitarian. The disciples of this ideology seek to silence critics through state censorship for some and self-censorship for most.
Under the banner of prohibiting “hate speech,” these legal and political tactics are the West’s new blasphemy laws. A century ago, Christian countries banned blasphemous speech against the church. Many Muslim countries still prohibit speech that disparages Muhammad.
Now, gender ideologues likewise seek to impose their orthodoxy through legal and political pressure. A ban on “hate speech” is a favorite weapon in their censorship arsenal.
Bodies within the United Nations system are wrestling with this conflict between gender ideology and freedom of speech. The U.N. Security Council and the U.N. Human Rights Council each passed resolutions this summer targeting “hate speech.”
This resolution, promoted by Muslim countries, is intended to protect Islam from criticism or offense. Some Western countries opposed the measure in the name of free speech, but still support censorship when it offends the new orthodoxies of gender ideology. They failed to note the irony.
The Security Council resolution “urges” governments to “publicly condemn” speech that is “motivated by discrimination including on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender, religion or language.” It gives a nod to freedom of expression with its admonition to do so “in a manner consistent with applicable international law.”
But the resolution also “urges” U.N. member states to “instill the principles of tolerance and respect” and “prevent the spread of intolerant ideology.”
Upholding Fundamental Rights
So, which intolerant ideologies will be on the receiving end of such measures? Gender ideology doesn’t peacefully coexist with other beliefs. And the U.N.’s track record on these conflicts is not good.
The desire not to be offended, in contrast, doesn’t carry the same weight. The right way to combat hateful speech, or bad ideas, is with more speech and good ideas.
Laws against vaguely defined hate speech—whether employed to protect the feelings of Muslims or sexual minorities or anyone else—are a bad idea. That’s true both at home or abroad.