Jon Caldera, a libertarian activist and columnist for The Denver Post since 2016, says he was fired for not adhering to the politically correct, transgender ideology of the mainstream media.
He believes it was his refusal to follow the language mandated by liberals that led to his dismissal, even though he was one of the most widely read writers at the newspaper.
In a recent Facebook post, he accused liberal groups of trying to “force us to use inaccurate pronouns” and “force us to teach our kids that there are more than two sexes.” Two of his recent opinion pieces demonstrate his refusal to kowtow to contemporary gender ideology.
At the beginning of 2020, Jon Caldera wrote a column for The Denver Post criticizing reporters for being out of touch with “a very sizable percentage of Americans.” As one example, he pointed to recently updated language in the Associated Press’ AP Stylebook that says there are a multitude of genders.
The AP Stylebook informs journalists, “Not all people fall under one of two categories for sex and gender, according to leading medical organizations, so avoid references to both, either or opposite sexes or genders as a way to encompass all people.”
Caldera disagreed. He wrote: “There are only two sexes, identified by an XX or XY chromosome. That is the very definition of binary. The AP ruling it isn’t so doesn’t change science. It’s a premeditative attempt to change culture and policy. It’s activism.”
In a more recent column, Caldera went after Democrat legislators in Colorado who have control of the state’s General Assembly and governorship. Last year, the assembly passed legislation mandating children in grades K-12 learn about the contributions of LGBT-identified individuals in the social sciences. Also signed into law was a comprehensive sexuality education act, requiring the inclusion of the health needs of “intersex individuals or lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals” whenever sexual education is offered in the classroom.
The law says that sexual education must not include “gender norms and stereotypes” – including, presumably, the truth that there are two sexes, male and female. Caldera wrote that the new law is “anti-free-speech” and is designed to convince children there are more than two sexes.
A bill introduced this year, SB20-072, would require schools to notify parents when sex education would be taught in their local school. The bill also mandates placing the lesson plans online “90 days prior to the commencement of the planned curriculum.”
Democrat legislators plan to kill the legislation. Caldera argued that Democrats don’t want transparency in education. He said many parents aren’t thrilled about their children being taught about transgenderism and wrote, “It’s not a surprise that some parents might want to take their kids out of the ‘comprehensive human sexuality’ session at school.”
Despite his dismissal, Caldera praised Megan Schrader, the Post’s opinion pages editor, saying she was a good friend who cares deeply about people. Still, they clashed over Caldera’s language and style. He said, “My column is not a soft voiced, sticky sweet NPR-styled piece which employs the language now mandated by the victim-centric, identity politics driven media.”
The Post refuted Caldera’s argument, noting that the paper ran both his columns dealing with sex and gender. Their editorial note on his firing said, “We want our pages to explore a variety of subjects and feature a variety of voices, even when some of our readers find them offensive.”
The editors also said they wanted writers to use “respectful language” when dealing with “sensitive subjects and about people with whom one disagrees.” The paper said it was their right to edit articles and columns submitted for publication and concluded, “We expect writers to work with us in a collaborative and professional manner as we strive toward that goal.”
Caldera sees a conflict between those two positions. On the one hand, the paper says it wants “a variety of voices.” On the other hand, the Post requires writers to “use the language of their ideological opponents,” which doesn’t allow them “to have their own voice.”
Caldera bemoans the loss of freedom and diversity with forced political correctness: “There was a time when the liberals in the press fought hard to protect free speech. Now they fight hard to mandate speech because, heaven forbid, someone be offended or have their feelings hurt. It’s okay people get offended. In fact, I encourage it. It means we are being challenged. It’s not hate speech. It’s speech. It used to be the press was all about.”