Opinion: It’s time for Gov. Cox to stop calling himself an ally to the LGBTQ community

You cannot be an “ally” to a marginalized group while actively participating in their oppression.

(Laura Seitz | Pool) Gov. Spencer Cox speaks to reporters at the PBS Utah Governor's monthly news conference at the Eccles Broadcast Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024.

What a sham Gov. Spencer Cox’s “Disagree Better” initiative truly is.

As a citizen, constituent, educator and a transgender woman, I held out the slimmest of hopes that when he took office maybe, just maybe, he would prove himself to be a worthy leader of our state and not succumb to the fevers of political hysteria which currently affect our national landscape.

When he vetoed the ban against trans kids in school sports, I felt that hope was justified, and I vocalized my support to those who still regarded him in a negative light.

All of 2023 and the first month-and-a-half of 2024, however, have dashed any and all hopes I had.

Cox has hopped on the political bandwagon of banning gender-affirming care for minors (including hormone therapy), and he has perpetuated the hysteria around bathrooms by signing a pointless bathroom bill. He has justified these actions by “inviting” trans children and their families to witness these actions against them.

And now he’s referring to gender-affirming care as “genital mutilation surgery,” all while continuing to say he’s an ally to LGBTQ+ people.

It’s clear to me what he gains from these actions — the support of Utah’s conservative backbone which, like Republicans the rest of the country over, is shifting ever further right.

What I will ask the governor is this: How do you square these actions with yourself and your God? How can you possibly claim to be a moral man and an ally to a people whom you actively oppress?

Cox’s actions send a clear message that contradicts his words. One cannot be an “ally” to a marginalized group while actively participating in their oppression. Once cannot disagree with people against whom you have passed laws to make them fundamentally less equal. All the rationalizing and justifying he attempts, all the national press coverage he so thirstily seeks, all the pats on the back from the Republican supermajority for marching to their drum — none of it will ever balance out his harmful deeds as the head of this state.

Gov. Cox, if you’re going to continue to sign legislation against myself and my trans siblings, just cut the bull and say it outright. Stop sugarcoating the restriction of my rights.

Shame on you.

Kiley M. Campbell

Kiley M. Campbell was born and raised in Salt Lake City, where she works as a middle school teacher.

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