The recently surfaced Navy training video detailing the proper handling of pronouns in deference to the LGBTQ+ community is just one of many signs that Biden's diversity and inclusion agenda is here to stay. While veterans are honored two days a year on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the entire month of June (Pride Month) is devoted to the LGBTQ+ community. Certainly not limited to gender equality, diversity and inclusion policies are now embedded in every corner of the federal government. Obama and Clinton may have laid the foundation, but the Biden administration is responsible for implementing some of the most transformational policies to date.
On Wednesday, Biden will sign a far-reaching executive order to advance LGBTQ+ equality as a part of his civil rights agenda. Remarkably, sections of the order seek to supersede legislation—in states like Florida—the Biden administration sees as "harmful, hateful, and discriminatory." However, the Biden administration has grossly mischaracterized the Florida Bill. The bill simply seeks to protect parents' rights to know what their children are being taught in schools. It prohibits instruction about sexual education and gender identity in grades K-3. The bill also prohibits lesson plans for older grades that are not "age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate."
Biden signaled his diversity and inclusion agenda during his first address to Congress and never looked back. On his first day in office, Biden signed an Executive Order signaling his commitment to "discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation." His LGBTQ+ agenda has shown up in every branch of the military, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the FBI, the Office of Education, the FTC, the CDC, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the DHS border policies, the NIH and even a (SOGI) data. Federal statistics on SOGI "are used to inform policy affecting" the LGBTQ+ community in the United States.
Working with HHS, the CDC first developed a Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for SOGI in 2013 and gave states the option to add this module to their BRFSS questionnaires in 2014. HHS began developing its LGBT policies in 2010, during the first term of the Obama administration. In 2016, several "landmark accomplishments" were added to the agenda including important changes in healthcare. Non-discrimination language on the "basis of sex, including gender identity and sex stereotyping" was incorporated into the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a first for the healthcare industry.
LGBTQ+ HHS changes
The NIH Lexicon of Pronouns
A January 2022 NIH document shows an updated lexicon of pronouns with suggestions for their use and "mistakes to avoid." It is quite possibly the guidance used as a basis for the Navy training video, as it closely parallels the discussed talking points. For example, just as in the video, the guidance states that one must never force an individual to disclose a pronoun. Also, "Being misgendered (i.e., being referred to with incorrect pronouns),' says the document, "Can be an extremely hurtful and invalidating experience. Intentional refusal to use someone's correct pronouns is equivalent to harassment and a violation of one's civil rights.' Underlying the pronoun training endeavor is the intention to further one's allyship or, in more common terms, the "responsibility [of the privileged] to build trust with marginalized communities."
NIH Prescribed Pronouns
The Air Force Goes Woke
According to a Dec. 20, 2021 memorandum, the Air Force now allows the branch's writing guide, The Tongue and Quill, to "include pronouns in their signature block." That means "formatting standards for official documents, including email, letters, and memos, will be updated to reflect this change." Comments from leaders in the Air Force indicate their solidarity with the policies:
"An inclusive force is a mission-ready force, and I'm thankful to the LGBTQ Initiatives Team for helping us realize this opportunity to be a more inclusive force," Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones said in a statement.
"The change request was driven by awareness of a restrictive policy that was being used against transgender Airmen and Guardians who were authentically representing themselves. It was also important for many individuals often confused as being a different gender in their communications," said Lt. Col. Bree Fram, a LIT Transgender Policy Team co-lead.
In the spring of 2021, the Air Force formally established "under the umbrella of its Barrier Analysis Working Group (BAWG)" two new "barrier analysis" working groups. As a result, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning Initiative Team (LIT) and the Indigenous Nations Equality Teams (INET) were born.
Let's take a look at the Air Force Diversity page. A video entitled Inclusion Talks features a panel discussion of top brass from the Space Force, Pentagon Air Force Logistics, and other Air Force officials. They discuss how central diversity is to accomplishing the Air force's mission in "an increasingly competitive and dynamic global environment." The site features a .pdf of diversity and inclusion resources with authors like Fareed Zakaria and retired General Stanley McChrystal, who discuss the "power of diversity" in this 2019 video.
Air Force Diversity and Inclusion Resource List
The Army Establishes the ODIEO
West Point now has Spectrum— a relatively new "diversity club" that "actively bridges the relationship between Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Questioning (LGBTQ) cadets, and their allies." The academy also requested $9.5M in private funding for its diversity and inclusion programming, under guidance from the Department of the Army and the United States Military Academy (USMA). Westpoint has established and funded the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity (ODIEO), including the appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) and other supporting staff positions. The academy now allegedly teaches several critical race theory-based courses, including workshops and seminars with titles like "White Power at West Point," "Racist Dog Whistles at West Point," and a lecture by Dr. Carol Anderson of Emory University with the title "Understanding Whiteness and White Rage."
The DOD Leads the Way on Diversity
The Department of Defense (DOD) is also leading the way in diversity with its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. In March of 2021, on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby announced the revision of its policies to better align with the White House. The DOD, said Kirby, would further "prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or an individual's identification as transgender."
On June 7, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen H. Hicks paid tribute to LGBTQ+ service members. She explained the DOD plans to take the lead on issues related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility for LGBTQ+ people.
"DOD is committed to ensuring and promoting an atmosphere of dignity and respect for all civilian and military personnel. We strive to make the Department of Defense a workplace of choice for all Americans willing and qualified to serve. In doing so, we set a bedrock foundation where all personnel [are] valued and given an equal opportunity to succeed."
Have We Jumped the Shark?
I could go on, but I won't. But here is the rub. I have begun to ask myself whether we have jumped the shark with these pervasive left-leaning policies. If I am honest, I never had an issue with my LGBTQ friends. My best friend from high school was openly lesbian. My motto has always been live and let live. But now? I can't say I feel good about the direction this is going, especially for children. In my opinion, children should enjoy learning and growing in a less controversial environment during their formative years. I am not sure they have the developmental maturity to digest these concepts properly. More importantly, it is becoming increasingly difficult for individual families to influence and guide their children without the constant barrage of identity politics dogging their every step.
One could argue that if anyone were to take issue with the LGBTQ+ community, it might have been more commonly from those on the religious right. However, with the rise of explicit sexual material in schools, Drag Queen Story Hour in school and city libraries and classrooms, and the recent "Drag Your Kids to Pride Event" in Cedar Springs, Texas, outside of Dallas showing small children tipping the drag queens, a kissing scene between two women in Disney's latest installment of Buzz Lightyear, making $50 million less than expected, or the March of Diversity Parade at Disney Theme Parks—a broader audience is awakening to the potential threat to our most vulnerable. And it isn't just conservative parents showing up at school board meetings; I can tell you that.
Our U.S. Constitution was designed to protect everyone, regardless of stripe or color. In my humble opinion, the differences we all struggle with are best worked individually, not through government mandate. One thing is sure; adults need to get a handle on when to expose children to things that some adults may have trouble processing. Even some in the LGBTQ+ community agree.