Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox was caught on camera telling middle and high school students his “preferred pronouns” — a concept created by transgender activists to help convince people they can choose the sex they “identify” with.
Cox identified himself as “he, him, and his” after a student who called herself a “bisexual woman” listed her pronouns and asked the governor about mental health resources for youth who believe they are gay or lesbians, during an April 13, 2021 virtual #OneUtah Student Town Hall. Twitter user Adam Bartholomew broadcast the video after he posted a shortened compilation of the town hall on Tuesday. The post received more than 1,000 likes and hundreds of comments from other users, including political figures and commentators.
“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 Carson Jorgensen said in response during an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Wednesday.
— Adam Bartholomew 🗨️ (@lifeisdriving) April 5, 2022
“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 said in the town hall. Cox addressed “mask mandates, sex education, gun violence, and more,” according to the description of the virtual event.
“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 said.
Breitbart News reached out to Cox’s office for comment and also asked if the governor routinely shares his “preferred pronouns” and if he believes sharing them with students is appropriate. His office did not respond by the time of publication.
Jorgensen said Cox catering to the far-left agenda goes “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 said. “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 said Cox’s behavior in the the town hall seems to be part of a greater emerging pattern. Cox recently vetoed a GOP-led measure that would ban males from playing in female sports, saying he tries to “err of the side of compassion.” However, the state legislature had enough votes to override Cox’s veto.
Before and after his election, Cox has been rather vocal in his support for the LGBTQ+ community, according to Desert News. In June 2021, the Republican governor even designated the month of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month — “the first such statewide designation in Utah’s history.”
Cox sat down with Desert News for a Q & A about LBGTQ+ Pride, and said he has “been attacked for pushing an agenda of kindness and inclusion.” The reporter asked Cox if he has faced backlash within his own party for his stance on LGBTQ+ issues, to which he said “I certainly have.”
He said in part:
I think from a very base, practical, political standpoint, I think that it’s critical to the survival of the party. I think there’s a younger generation for sure — my own kids are good examples of this — that see the world very differently, and I can’t imagine why anyone would be hostile toward this segment of our society.
But more importantly, as a Republican, this is who we are. I believe that the conservative movement is about empowering individuals and helping everyone to be successful, regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs or their sexual orientation. And so I actually think it’s very firmly with the party of Lincoln, that we would be the party that seeks to help others to lift those, especially those that are the most marginalized, and those that are struggling, to give them the same opportunities as everyone else.
Jorgensen pointed Breitbart News to a 2021 2KUTV report in which Cox said he wanted to change how state school board members are elected. Utah notably went to a partisan system in 2020, meaning state school board members must identify with a political party. Then, Utahns vote for who best represents them.
But according to the outlet, Cox believed his inability to be able to appoint board members “takes accountability away from his office.”
“Every governor runs to be the ‘education governor,’ to work on education issues,” Cox said. “The truth is the governor (of Utah) probably has less direct impact on K-12 education than any governor in the nation.”
Jorgensen said Cox’s desire to be more involved with the state’s education, combined with his use of preferred pronouns and continued deference to the transgender agenda “has a lot of people on edge.” He said:
This is why people are upset. The school board races here in Utah are pretty heated because we want to have control, and the populous wants to have control over what goes into our curriculum and what our children are learning in school. And when we start hearing the governor, you know, using the democratic [buzz words] and using preferred pronouns to speak to little kids…[it] has a lot of people on edge.
The chairman added that the influence of 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 indeed lists its position on “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,” reads a selective teaching from Elder James E. Faust.
While the governor has done some good things like signing the state’s constitutional carry bill, Jorgenson said, social issues are “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.”
Katherine Hamilton is a political reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow her on Twitter.
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