Gavin Newsom has now been sworn in as the next Governor of California, replacing the outgoing Jerry Brown. You can definitely expect an even more drastic swing to the left in the Golden State now that Newsom is in charge and this will apply to matters both great and small. In the “smaller” category we can include one of the first acts of the state’s new First Lady, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Oops… I’m breaking the new rules already. Ms. Newsom has announced that she will not accept the title of “First Lady” because it’s offensive to somebody… or something. She will instead ask to be referred to as the First Partner. (LA Times)
The wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom said she will go by the title of “first partner,” nixing the traditional “first lady” title.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom changed her Twitter bio to reflect the new title of “First Partner of California” on Monday, the day of Gavin Newsom’s inauguration in Sacramento.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom also read a poem in English and Spanish at the governor’s inauguration, a move she said reminded Californians of “our common humanity, reminding us that we are all one California family.”
“First Partner?” Isn’t that a title one would normally expect to encounter at a law firm?
In the larger scheme of things, this is probably a relatively minor quibble that isn’t going to have any impact on public policy. But it’s also a clear signal of what California should expect over at least the next four years. Eschewing the title “First Lady” is a clear dog whistle to the “gender isn’t a real thing” crowd. Apparently, the idea that the Governor’s wife is a “lady” is somehow perceived as being offensive to somebody.
The problem with this approach is that we’ve already had this discussion repeatedly. It kicked into gear once again in 2016 when everyone was assuming that Hillary Clinton was going to be the next president. Would Bill Clinton be using the title “First Lady?” Of course not. We saw all manner of suggestions ranging from First Gentleman to First Dude. But nobody assumed that he would stick with First Lady.
If a gay or lesbian candidate is elected governor or president, we similarly wouldn’t expect the spouse to take a title that doesn’t match their reproductive plumbing. If the spouse is transgender I suppose there would be a social media battle brewing, but that’s an argument for another day. The point here is that the Newsom family has apparently decided that the simple word “lady” is offensive, makes assumptions or some other social justice warrior nonsense.
Buckle up, California. It’s going to be a long four years.