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Respect My Choice to Lie: French Protestor Likens Vaccine Refusal to Gender Identity

In France as in America, certain right-wing sociopaths are determined to prolong the coronavirus pandemic by opposing sensible public health measures. As the French Senate and National Assembly struggle to finalize legislation on mandatory vaccinations for certain professions (health care workers, firefighters, those working with the elderly) and extensions of the existing passe sanitaire—the health pass already in effect requiring that people entering cultural sites like the Eiffel Tower to show they’ve either been fully vaccinated against or tested negative for covid-19—protestors have taken to French streets to shout for Liberté over Fraternité and Science.

One problematic expression of this resistance to public health comes in this right-wing wise-assery:

"@NavyMat", twitter photo, posted 2021.07.24.
“@NavyMat”, Twitter photo, posted 2021.07.24.

I am trans-vax, the placard reads. I am not vaccinated, but I identify as a vaccinated person. Thank you for respecting my choice.

The placard exemplifies the right-wing’s effort to pervert left-wing tolerance into a paralyzing moral relativism that excuses lying about objective truth. I shouldn’t have to explain the difference between gender identity and vaccination status, but such are the rhetorical knots the right-wing forces us to unravel to lay bare their selfish and harmful stupidity.

The placard-holder advocates lying. She has chosen not to take a coronavirus vaccine, yet she tells people she has chosen to take such a vaccine. She thus is not only a liar but a coward, unwilling to admit her choice and accept the consequences thereof. Neither her choice not to get vaccinated nor her lie about being vaccinated deserve respect.

The transgender people to whom the protestor likens herself tell no such lie. Transgender people do not choose their gender identity; they recognize the identity that is wired into their being. When we acknowledge that a transgender woman is a woman, we are not “respecting a choice”; we are acknowledging that person’s factual statement of her gender identity.

The placard-holder’s choice to not get vaccinated and her choice to lie about not being vaccinated put others at risk. If she flashes a fake passe sanitaire to go to work as a doctor, she exposes patients to a greater risk of an infection that may kill them. If she lies about her unvaccinated status to enter large public gatherings, she may help coronavirus spread and mutate and undermine an entire community’s diligent efforts to contain and crush the pandemic.

The transgender people with whom this protestor speciously (and I will contend mockingly, because deep down, the right-wing is always looking for opportunities to sneer at and bully the many people it tries to marginalize) identifies create no such risk for others. If I walk up to a hunky museum docent and say, “Pardon me, sir, which way is the Seurat exhibit?” and the docent says, “That’s ma’am, not sir,” no one gets hurt. I apologize and correct my error, the docent offers direction and some helpful insights about pointillism, and we both go about our business, without endangering ourselves or anyone else in the museum.

The freedom to live according to one’s gender identity is a genuine freedom, a right to live according to an internal truth that no outsider can legitimately deny. The freedom to refuse a safe and effective vaccine is mostly selfish and ignorant posturing, tolerable only as long as it does not mutate into the public lying and public menace proposed by the placard-holder shown above.

Responding not to this specific placard but to the anti-vaccine protests in general, French President Emmanuel Macron shows that he understands the difference between freedom and recklessness:

“What is your freedom worth if you say you don’t want to get vaccinated, but if tomorrow you infect your father, your mother or myself? I’m a victim of your freedom. When you had the possibility to protect yourself and to protect me,” Macron told reporters while visiting a hospital on the island of Tahiti. “That is not freedom, that is irresponsibility and selfishness.”

…”Every person is free to express themselves calmly and while respecting others, except that this virus isn’t vanquished by protests. As far as I understand its functioning, I don’t think it’s very effective to protest against it,” Macron said [Rym Momtaz, “French Senate Approves Vaccine Pass Despite Protests; German Politicians Divided,” Politico: EU, 2021.07.25].

Don’t be tricked by right-wing word games. The coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective. Requiring people to get vaccinated or stay out of certain places to prevent the spread of coronavirus is the equivalent of discrimination against transgender people.

And lying about getting a vaccine is still lying, and lying is not a respectable choice.

*     *     *

… there’s no getting around the truth that some considerable number of the unvaccinated are also behaving willfully and spitefully. Yes, they have been deceived and manipulated by garbage TV, toxic Facebook content, and craven or crazy politicians. But these are the same people who keep talking about “personal responsibility.” In the end, the unvaccinated person himself or herself has decided to inflict a preventable and unjustifiable harm upon family, friends, neighbors, community, country, and planet [David Frum, “Vaccinated America Has Had Enough,” The Atlantic, 2021.07.23].


  1. John Dale 2021-07-25

    I identify as a person with a moral compass and healthy immune system.

  2. ds 2021-07-25

    We just hoping the unvaccinated in our community stay home to prevent our 10-year old from getting infected, or if fate be the science deniers contact the virus may they die quickly and rest in peace.

  3. MD 2021-07-25

    According to an ER doc that I know in SD/IA area, people are already doing that here.

    She said patients will say they are vaccinated, then when the positive COVID test comes back, they say they only identify as being vaccinated.

    An unfortunate development from this group.

  4. Vi Kingman 2021-07-25

    I like France’s plan. If you’re vaccinated you can come and go as before. If you are not vaccinated then you shouldn’t be able to eat at a restaurant, go to ball games, especially inside, and so on. Does this mean a vaccine passport? Sure.
    Your freedom ends when it effects the health of other people.
    I heard this morning that since the announcement of this plan, over a million have now received the vaccine.

  5. Neal 2021-07-25

    ds, your 10 year old has a greater chance of dying from playing with legos or at the playground than from covid. Get a grip.

  6. Vi Kingman 2021-07-25

    Neal. COVID is preventable with the vaccine. Get a grip.

  7. John 2021-07-25

    We are on the eve of noem’s super-spreader event, aka, the Sturgis Rally. The rally promises being bigger and dumber than ever. The early numbers suggest that the area emergency rooms may exceed 50 amputations this rally. Rapid City Regional stands up 4 24/7 emergency rooms to cope with the fun. Add COVID to make it hysterical.
    Vaccinated patriots are fed up with faux moral relativism of anti-science, anti-vaxers. They are too stupid or arrogant to thank science, their parents, and President Ike that they didn’t have polio.
    Darwin was right. Survival goes to the most adaptable in a species and among species. Let the anti-vaxers go. Letting anti-vaxers go will make our society and species more adaptable (and smarter) in the long run.

    Luddites have and will continue being among us. This historical, hysterical, economic article drives home those points from over a century ago. Our modern day regret is our politicians lack the fortitude of public interest to jail mask-slackers and stop the lying narrative of anti-vaxers. And, as in the past, too many politicians spoke virus vigilance while making exceptions for themselves – as if they are “special people”.

  8. John 2021-07-25

    . . . but we ‘knew’ that . . .
    “Large study [in Cognitive Science] finds COVID-19 is linked to a substantial drop in intelligence”

    Here, drink some bleach. “People who have recovered from COVID-19 tend to score significantly lower on an intelligence test compared to those who have not contracted the virus, according to new research published in The Lancet journal EClinicalMedicine. The findings suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 can produce substantial reductions in cognitive ability, especially among those with more severe illness.”

    Let the anti-vaxers go.

  9. cibvet 2021-07-25

    John is correct, “let them go”. Insurance companies can charge smokers higher premiums so it could be the same for anti-vaxers. Many of those do not carry insurance, so if you show at the hospital with covid and without being vaccinated, just push the gurney to the loading dock where the refrigerated truck awaits.
    Should you make it fine, if not, then into the truck till your unvaccinated relatives show. Twenty-four hours maximum wait , then onto the crematorium. Problem solved and society becomes a better place.

  10. Porter Lansing 2021-07-25

    Anti vaxxers who lie about being vaccinated know it’s wrong not to be vaccinated.
    That’s why they lie about it.

    John Dale admits he’s not vaccinated but invents a phony justification, designed to misdirect us from his mindful mistake. He knows not being vaccinated is wrong. That’s why he invents a justification when he could just say, “I’m not vaccinated and it’s my choice.”

  11. Mark Anderson 2021-07-25

    I agree John, you are immune from reality.

  12. happy camper 2021-07-25

    They’re just trying to point out the absurdity of the trans issue. My heart aches for those who are tortured by gender dysphoria but I don’t believe affirming a child’s self-diagnosis, even changing pronoun use, is necessarily healthy or in their best interest. Left-wing nutters are destroying children’s lives while arrogantly insisting they have the superior position on a topic we know very little about and really seems to be a modern social phenomenon in many cases. It is a crime against children aided and abetted by activists, condoned by the social sciences, and because it’s the easy way out, approved by the medical community. That said, this is not just a political issue. The lead article on Yahoo News today is Dr. Mercola is the chief spreader of misinformation on Covid. He is basically a quack that sells high-priced vitamins don’t dismiss that he has a strong following and that many others in this pseudo-medical online world are exploiting and scamming the public simply for money.

  13. Porter Lansing 2021-07-25

    The absurdity of the trans issue?

    No one said anything about children except Happy Camper.

    Is he obsessed with children?

    Stay away from kids, HC!!!

  14. DaveFN 2021-07-25

    Let us return to Kant who as early as 1785 foresaw the the Noems and anti-vaxxers (the infantile “I don’t like being told what to do so don’t tell me what to do,” waah, waah, waah!)

    “…a being that cannot act except with the idea of freedom is bound by the same laws that would oblige a being who was actually free”

    Immanuel Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Thomas K. Abbott, Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1949, pg. 65.

  15. Bob Newland 2021-07-25

    John Dale’s moral compass sits next to his anti-microbial magnet. The needle spins aimlessly.

  16. DaveFN 2021-07-25

    ““It’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks…It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.” —Governor Kay Ivey (R) Alabama

    Vaccines should be mandatory when there is significant danger to the public health as there now is. Why do we allow ourselves to be held hostage by ignoramuses?

  17. mike from iowa 2021-07-25

    Imagine anti- lifeboaters on the Titanic. Don’t use the lifeboats just because the government said it could save you from drowning. I’ve never had to use a lifeboat and I haven’t drowned. Ever been on an ocean liner? No,why?

  18. grudznick 2021-07-25

    Before all you fellows lash out in libbie hate at grudznick, let me remind you that I am a big pro-Vaxxer. Huge. I’m old and frail plus I like to dine out frequently.

    It is good fun to tease our good friend Mr. Dale about the 5 Gs and the vaxing, and it was very funny when that goofy fellow Mr. Qualm lost his seat over his wife’s witchery, but how do we know this interesting “Trans-vax” idea lady is a right-wing-nut-job?

  19. Mark Anderson 2021-07-25

    Well, having been in Brooklyn for a week and having my hardworking daughter having to have two tests during that time because of proximity to a covid positive its really hard to believe that anyone with a rational mind won’t get a shot. It doesn’t hurt folks, you don’t even feel the injection. Of course if you are too cowardly to get it I can understand.

  20. Erica 2021-07-25

    cibvet, insurance companies then should also raise rates on those who drink alcohol, partake in drugs, do not exercise, are overweight, are underweight, who drive above the speed limit, who do not wear a seatbelt, who play any sports or extreme hobbies such as race car driving/sky diving/hot air ballooning/zip lining/mountain climbing, anyone who hunts for sport or game, and anyone who of course smokes cigarettes, vapes, or pot. They should also raise the rates on those who frequent sporting events, music concerts, and other such events, anyone who has not had all recommended vaccines as well as those who have had NO vaccines. They need to raise rates on those who work in dangerous jobs such as law enforcement, military, fire fighting, and EMT work. Those who live non-monogamous lifestyles and those who do not practice safe sex should also have their insurance rates jacked up.

    We ALL take risks every single day that can not only impact OUR lives but those around us in some way or another. You can either CHOOSE to live your life actually enjoying it, or you can live in fear consumed with all the ways life will get you. Only YOU can decide if you are going to sit around and wait for death or make the best of your time on earth while you can. We are ALL going to die in the end.

  21. Mark Anderson 2021-07-25

    Nice either or Erika, I’m 68 and I’m absolutely sure I’ll out live you and your diatribe.

  22. cibvet 2021-07-26

    Erica- how many of your examples threaten the lives of others? We all take some risks in life and I took mine defending the constitution so that you could post your silly comments. However, I don’t appreciate thankless wretches who are willing to do other people harm through their own selfish ignorance.

  23. V 2021-07-26

    How can you be anti science and anti vax yet take prescription meds to stay alive? All 3 of my Trump idolizing brothers fall into this category, 2 are veterans who fought in foreign wars and had to have tons of shots to go overseas. My neighbors are Jehovah Witness and anti everything, yet once again take prescriptions meds daily.

    I bet my daily meds that most of you are just hypocrites too. You whine and shout and cry, but you’re alive thanks to science. And if you are a Christian and deny science, that’s like denying God because he is the ultimate scientist.

    We should be grateful for life, take care of ourselves to enjoy life, and do God’s will by helping others.

  24. O 2021-07-26

    Pro-vaccine IS pro-life.

    I’m a bit surprised our GOP friends have not taken the position that women have no choice and MUSt be vaccinated.

  25. V 2021-07-26

    That’s a good one O!!!!

    It’s like the male anti mask Pubs that say “It’s my body, my choice.”

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