An investigation into Pentagon policies dealing with gender identity, gender transition and “inclusive” gender language was blocked by Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee Tuesday.
Republicans led by Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., pushed for passage of their “resolution of inquiry” that would formally ask the Pentagon for any and all records dealing with its gender-related policies.
Clyde’s resolution asks for any record that includes the words transgender, gender identity, gender transition, gender reassignment, gender affirming, gender neutral, gender dysphoria, nonbinary, gendered language, safe space and inclusive language. Under President Biden, the Pentagon in 2021 announced it recognizes transgender and non-conforming people, and would work to advance the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and “questioning individuals.”
That included banning discrimination on the basis of anyone’s gender identify, and providing a “means to access into the military in one’s self-identified gender.”
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Resolutions of inquiry are privileged and must either be considered in committee or on the House floor. But at the committee today, Democrats opposed the resolution and voted to adversely report it to the House, effectively killing the measure.
Democrats argued that Republicans were looking to score political points by ranting about “woke” policies at the Pentagon. One Democrat said GOP criticism of federal policies that take into account gender fluidity are harmful and cruel.
“This is not something to poke fun at,” said Rep. Sara Jacobs, D-Calif. “Many of you know I have a trans sibling and gender nonconforming sibling, and I can tell you the conversations we have in this body, the things that young people hear us say about their identities, it has real consequences on their mental health.”
The Democratic chairman of the committee, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, said Congress should not be trying to make the military less inclusive at a time when it is struggling to recruit new service members.
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“We have had discrimination across this country against many different groups,” Smith said. “At a time when we are in fact short of personnel, excluding personnel for reasons other than their ability to do the job… forget about the discriminatory aspect of it or the bigoted aspect of it, it’s just stupid not to include people who could capably help the military because of past discriminations and bigotry.”
But Republicans argued that “woke” leaders at the Pentagon are the reason why recruiting numbers are down.
“The woke ideology that Secretary [Lloyd] Austin has advanced has harmed our military,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who added the resolution is needed because the Pentagon refuses to answer questions about what it’s doing on gender, race and other issues.
Representative Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., said she recently met a service member at Fort Sill who said he joined the military to get free gender reassignment surgery. “This is an issue and I do feel we should be looking at it,” she said.
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The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, promised that Republicans would fully investigate this issue and others when they take charge in January.
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“Americans are growing increasingly concerned with the direction of the military in recent years,” he said. “DOD’s current political appointees are pushing questionable policies on our troops just to satisfy the ideological agenda of a minority of Americans.”
“Our troops should not be the vanguard of the left’s social agenda,” Rogers added. “Next year the new majority will be conducting robust oversight on these issues, and we will demand accountability for this administration.”