Thinking hard about old tweets

  1. In October 2014, I tweeted that the question of constitutional rights to same-sex marriage was effectively decided by the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear five cases involving states’ marriage laws. A few months later the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the Obergefell case and declared a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
  2. My September 2017 tweet regarding Chelsea Manning was in reference to her bizarre assertion that Harvard was part of a CIA “military/police/intel state” plot against her.
  3. My January 2017 tweet, regarding President Obama’s commutation of Chelsea Manning’s conviction for violating the Espionage Act, was a criticism of the politicization of a criminal case involving major national security issues. It is a grave mistake for elected officials to politicize the enforcement of national security laws.
  4. On January 13, 2017, I tweeted an observation that the New York Times’s account of Chelsea Manning used Manning’s chosen pronouns, instead of the pronouns reflecting her biological sex at birth. While such an approach is less controversial in 2021, it was highly controversial in 2017, as reflected by the New York Times’s own explanation of the subject in another story just a few weeks later. A friend, Mike Sacks, responded to my tweet, criticizing me as being insensitive toward LBTQ people; I replied and reiterated my position that gender is best understood as a matter of biological sex. While my view of the subject of gender pronouns has not changed since then, my view of how to relate to people has changed significantly. I concluded soon after those tweets that my tone in the tweets was glib and uncharitable; and that, whatever one’s views of the subject, it is important to treat all people with kindness and charity. Hence my use of people’s chosen pronouns more recently.
  5. To the best of my recollection (I had to go back and refresh my memory on this), my 2017 tweet about Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi ad was a glib reference to the fact that Pepsi Co. issued a public apology for her Pepsi ad, because that ad grossly trivialized Black Lives Matter; my allusion to Caitlyn Jenner was in reference to the criticism that she had recently received for her own political statements, including her support for President Trump and her attendance at his inauguration.
  6. The two tweets on June 2, 2015, regarding fact-checking one’s assertions of gender identity, reflected my view that if gender identity were to be separated from one’s sex at birth, then it would become largely subjective and thus difficult, if not impossible, to “fact-check” as a matter of journalism.
  7. I do not recall the context of my February 7, 2016 tweet asking about the term “LGBT inequality,” because the tweet I was responding to no longer exists. But my best guess is that I was surprised by the use of that specific term. By which I mean: while in February 2016 debates were well established regarding discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation or identity, my tweet reflected the fact that I was struck by a framing of those issues with the term “inequality,” which at the time was being used mostly in terms of economics, race, and sex. But, again, it is impossible for me to know exactly what news development I was replying to.

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Adam J. White

Adam J. White

I’m a resident scholar at AEI, and a law professor at George Mason University, directing the law school’s Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State.