A student senator at the University of California, Berkeley, is being pressured to resign or face a recall because, as a Christian, she is insufficiently enthusiastic about gender confusion.
Isabella Chow, the daughter of Malaysian-Cambodian immigrants, is a junior at Berkeley and is double majoring in business administration and music. She is also a member of the student senate.
Three weeks ago, the Queer Alliance Resource Center (QARC) asked the Berkeley student senate to condemn the Trump Administration’s proposed definition of sex under Title IX as being the person’s birth sex.
Title IX was adopted in 1972 to equalize funding in college athletics between male and female athletic programs. In 2014, the Obama Administration, following Leftist ideological orthodoxy, decided that Title IX should be “interpreted” to proscribe discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The fact that federal money composes 40 to 60% of the budgets of many colleges and universities makes it difficult for schools to flout these Dept. of Education interpretations. Now, the Trump administration is considering backing away from the re-interpretation of Title IX.
(Note to our friends at Liberty Magazine who think Trump is a theocrat on the verge of imposing a Sunday Law: What does it tell you that two years into his administration, Trump’s Department of Education still has not rolled back his predecessor’s egregious overreach?)
Isabella Chow issued a letter stating that discrimination, harassment, bullying and other mistreatment is never acceptable, she nevertheless could not support the measure condemning the proposed definition of sex in Title IX, because it conflicted with her Christian beliefs:
“Where this bill crosses the line for me is that I am asked to promote a choice of identities that I do not agree to be right or best for an individual . . . As a Christian, I personally do believe that certain acts and lifestyles conflict with what is good, right, and true. I believe that God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman. For me, to love another person does not mean that I silently concur when, at the bottom of my heart, I do not believe that your choices are right or the best for you as an individual.”
She therefore chose to abstain. She didn’t vote against the measure, she just did not vote. The symbolic measure passed with the support of 18 of the 20 senators (another being absent).
Chow was immediately labeled “homophobic” and “transphobic.” Hundreds gathered in the student association chambers telling Chow to resign, taping a large banner reading “Senator Chow resign now” to the back wall. The student newspaper, the Daily Californian, ran an editorial criticizing her, but when Chow offered her defense and a statement, the paper refused to run it, and instead condemned her in an editorial calling for her to resign and accusing her of creating a “toxic space for LGBTQ+ communities.”
Teddy Lake, the student senator who sponsored the bill (and apparently some variety of LGBTQ+), labeled her a bigot, claiming Chow’s comments were “disturbing and irreconcilable,” “hateful prejudices,” and that they denied Lake’s existence as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Over a thousand students signed a petition from QARC accusing Chow of hatred and violating the ASUC constitution, being unfit for office, and called her comments “violent, hypocritical, and bigoted.”
Chow now has her friends walk with her to class for fear of safety amid the backlash, but she doesn’t plan on resigning.
Chow has been remarkably understanding and charitable about the verbal abuse directed at her: “It was absolutely difficult to hear 'f*** you Isabella' and 'see you in Hell,' and [other] difficult words that I don’t want to relive,” Chow said, “but beneath all the anger and hurt are wounded hearts and broken narratives that we as a church need to address with utmost love and utmost truth spoken in love.”
Chow said while it felt like everyone on campus was against her, she has received supportive messages from people across the country. “I’m reminded the rest of the world is not a bubble the way Berkeley is,” she said, “and honestly that gives me hope.”