Causing Heartburn to Some in the Utah Republican Party, Governor Cox Shares His Preferred Pronouns


    Utah Governor Spencer Cox declared himself “he, him, and his” following a schoolmate claiming to be a “bisexual woman,” listing her preferred pronouns and questioning the governor about the resources available for mental-health issues relevant to young people who consider themselves gay or lesbian during the April 13, 2021, virtual #OneUtah Town Hall. On Tuesday, Twitter user Adam Bartholomew broadcast the video following the posting of a shorter version. The post was gifted with more than 1,000 likes as well as hundreds of responses from users, such as political figures and journalists.

    “I don't know if I would call it buyer's remorse, but there's a lot of people who are having heartburn because this is not what they signed up for,” Utah Republican Party Chairman Carson Jorgensen said in response.

    “Thank you so much, Gabby, for that question. And my preferred pronouns are he, him, and his. So thank you for sharing yours with me,” Cox declared at the Town Hall. Cox discussed “mask mandates, sex education, gun violence, and more,” according to the description of the event.

    The shortened clip includes an excerpt from the town hall that shows Cox speaking about “equity and inclusion,” buzzwords based on Critical Race Theory (CRT) principles.

    “Leading with equity and inclusion starts at a young age, and the students that are joining us today have shown great leadership through their academic achievement and civic participation in our state,” Cox declared.

    The news media approached Cox's office to get his opinion and inquire if the governor regularly communicates his “preferred pronouns” and if he believes that it is appropriate. The office hadn't responded when this article was published.

    Jorgensen stated that Cox being a defender of the extreme left’s agenda is “absolutely against everything we believe in.”

    “Right now, the governor is out of step with what people in the state and especially Republicans in the state really feel,” Jorgensen told reporters. “As a state party, we want to support him, but this is not something we can support. And this is not something the majority of Republicans and the majority of people–not just Republicans here in the state–are in for.”

    Jorgensen believes that Cox's behavior at the town hall could be part of an emerging trend. Cox recently vetoed a GOP-led initiative that would prohibit males from participating on female teams, claiming he was trying to “err on the side of compassion.” But the state legislature had enough support to override Cox's decision to veto the measure.

    After (and prior to) Cox's election, he has been quite open in his support of his constituents within the LGBTQ+ community, according to Desert News. In June 2021, Cox as the Republican governor declared that month LGBTQ+ Pride Month–”the first such statewide designation in Utah's history.”

    Cox was interviewed by Desert News about LBGTQ and Pride Month. He claimed that he's “been attacked for pushing an agenda of kindness and inclusion.” He was asked by the reporter whether he's experienced criticism within his own political group because of his views regarding LGBTQ+ issues, to which he responded, “I certainly have.”

    He stated in part, “I believe that from a fundamental, practical…viewpoint, I believe that this is essential for the continued existence of the political party. I'm sure there's a newer generation, for sure. My own children are excellent examples that show [those] who think differently about the world, and I'm not able to comprehend why one would…be against this section of our society… However, being a Republican, we are the way we see ourselves. I am of the opinion it is focused on giving people the tools they need [to] achieve their goals regardless of background or beliefs, or sexual orientation. In fact, I think it's very strong with the political party of Lincoln and that we should be the party that aims to aid others to lift the most vulnerable, including those who are least privileged, and the ones who are in need to be given the same opportunities as the rest of us.”

    In a 2021 2 KUTV report, Cox declared he would like to alter the way state school-board members get elected. Utah was among the states that switched to the partisan system in 2020. This means that members of the state school board must belong to a particular political party. In the end, Utahns voted for who they felt most closely represented their interests.

    However, according to the media, Cox believed his inability to nominate board members “takes accountability away from his office.”

    “Every governor runs to be the ‘education governor,' to work on education issues,” Cox declared. “The truth is the governor (of Utah) probably has a less direct impact on K-12 education than any governor in the nation.”

    Jorgensen said that Cox's desire to be more involved in the public-education system coupled with his use of pre-approved pronouns and his ongoing support of the transgender community “has a lot of people on edge.” He added, “That's why people are angry. The races for school board seats in Utah are heated because we want control, and our population desires to be in control of the curriculum we use and what our kids are learning in the classroom. When we hear the governor, for instance, using the Democratic buzzwords and using preferred pronouns in his speech to children…[it is putting many people in a state of anxiety].”

    The chairman told the committee that influence from the Mormon church (the Church of the Latter-Day Saints) is “such a predominant figure in the state” and has been “very clear on their stance on gender and marriage.” The Church of the Latter-Day Saints website does contain its positions regarding “gender” and sexuality: “We live in a day when there are many political, legal, and social pressures for changes that confuse gender and homogenize the differences between men and women. Our eternal perspective sets us against changes that alter those separate duties and privileges of men and women that are essential to accomplish the great plan of happiness” is the concise teaching of Elder James E. Faust.

    Although the governor has accomplished some good things, such as signing the constitutional carry bill for the state, Jorgenson said, social problems will be “where the rubber meets the road… The social issues are the ones that have these people fired up, and he just continues to double down on them.”


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