Letter: Natalie Cline needs to acknowledge what she did was wrong under all circumstances

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah State Board of Education member Natalie Cline, District 9, Thursday, August 3, 2023.

Recent articles in The Salt Lake Tribune and other news outlets have said much about the reprehensible social media post by Natalie Cline regarding a student athlete whose gender identity Cline implied might be trans.

I’ve been glad to see that the overwhelming response from Utah’s leaders has been one of stern disapproval of Cline’s actions, but I’m troubled by one theme I’ve seen multiple times. An article in The Tribune on Feb. 6 included the sentences, “The girl is not transgender, according to Equality Utah. Cline later acknowledged that after deleting the post and sharing an apology.” This wording, and similar wording in other news broadcasts, makes it sound as if Cline’s apology was issued because she discovered that the student she targeted wasn’t really trans. It makes it sound as if Cline thinks her actions would have been acceptable if she’d been right about the girl being trans. The followers of Cline’s social media account who reportedly threatened the girl after reading Cline’s post certainly think that way. Recently passed bills and arguments made by Utah state legislators make me worry that Cline is not the only public figure who thinks this way.

I would hope that everyone in Utah would stand up and loudly proclaim that Cline’s actions are inexcusable, regardless of whether her target was straight or trans. Trans people are people. They deserve the same rights, the same respect, and the same privacy as any other person.

I ask Cline to issue an expanded apology which makes it clear that she now realizes that targeting anyone like she did is absolutely wrong under all circumstances — regardless of whether or not her suspicions are correct.

Douglas Hendricks, Riverton

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