Biden Administration bans 'man made' and 'police man' in favor of non-gendered language
In an apparent effort to help rid the federal government of gendered terminology, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) under the Biden administration has banned the use of words with male or female connotations, as the Daily Mail reports.
The agency's guidance was issued at the instruction of its “chief diversity management officer,” according to internal memos from October of 2022 that were obtained by the outlet.
“Style Guide” Updated
Though the purpose of the GAO is to analyze administration spending initiatives, once its ancillary priorities now appear to involve bringing an end to the use of what it called “non-inclusive terminology.”
According to a memo introducing the new guidelines, “Inclusive language allows us to support GAO's mission by appropriately addressing all members of society.”
“Writing inclusively means our words, phrases, and tone are free from assumptions, implications, and connotations that may exclude people or perpetuate misconceptions,” the communication continued.
The overriding objective, according to the memo, is to “respect the identities and preferences of all people and to avoid working that diminishes anyone's dignity or humanity.”
Gender Theory to the Forefront
According to the dispatch, employees will be required to eschew the use of terms such as “man-made” or “manpower,” opting instead for alternatives that might include “artificial” or “workforce.”
Gender identity is also a main theme of the instructions to employees, which caution, “[w]hen it is necessary to refer to sex or gender identity, be aware of the distinction and avoid equating the two.”
The guidance goes on to opine that “Gender identity may align with the sex a person was assigned at birth (cisgender), another sex (transgender, or neither.”
GAO staffers are then told to internalize the concept that “A person whose gender identity does not align with their sex assigned at birth or with another sex may identify as nonbinary, agender, or gender fluid, among other identities.”
Immigration Terminology Also Scrutinized
Gender was not the only realm in which the GAO issued new employee language rules, as the issue of immigration was also pushed to the forefront in last year's memo.
Staffers were told, “[t]o the extent possible, avoid dehumanizing or unclear terms such as “alien,” “illegal alien,” “illegal immigrant,” or “illegals” when referring to people who are not U.S. citizens and who may have a variety of immigration statuses. Instead, use more inclusive and respectful terms to describe people's immigration status,” with “noncitizen,” “foreign national,” “migrant,” and “undocumented migrants” among the sanctioned options.
In an attempt to facilitate the use of preferred language, the memo goes on to outline a series of potential immigration-related scenarios and substitutes what it deems problematic terminology with more appropriate choices.
Instead of “aliens illegally in the U.S.,” for instance, employees are urged to say, “individuals without lawful/valid immigration status.”
Criticism Pours in
Republican lawmakers have taken aim at the agency's edicts, with Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) recently suggesting to GAO head Gene Dodaro that it would be best if his agency avoided this type of involvement in “cultural battles” and stuck to its core responsibilities, as the Mail noted.
A representative for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) appeared to agree, saying, “The GAO is tasked with investigating federal spending and performance, but under President Biden they're wasting valuable government time and resources on regulating language.”
The administration courted even more controversy in this realm recently, when a reporter called attention to the fact that State Department email messages suddenly included senders' preferred pronouns in the “from” field, as Fox News noted.
Though State Department officials later explained the pronouns' involuntary and reportedly arbitrary appearance in senders' emails as a testing “glitch,” agency officials subsequently went to great pains to recommend that employees who were upset by any “misgendering” that may have occurred to utilize the Employee Consultation Service “to speak to a professional counselor,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.