The Transgender Administrative State
Woodrow Wilson, the father of the American administrative state, once wrote: “Government does now whatever experience permits or the times demand.”
Well, the times now “demand” the construction of a massive transgender architecture across the labyrinth of the federal government.
Perhaps if Wilson were able to gaze a century into the future and see the absurd result, the 28th American president would have hesitated before unleashing this unconstitutional form of government. We weren’t so lucky, and now here we are.
The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project has been busy investigating the federal government’s sophisticated bureaucratization of transgender policy. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.)
The Oversight Project’s investigation has obtained and publicized several explosive documents over the past year that expose this fundamental shift. It’s time to identify the trend line.
Each government document, standing alone, is an experience in the absurd. Each reads as the Frankensteinian combination of a mechanical bureaucrat and a Drag Queen Story Hour.
We live in a time when a Supreme Court nominee can’t define the difference between a man and a woman, and yet an army of government human resource officers (whose names history will not remember) can fill reams of paper with exactly how workplace policies should govern, celebrate, and enforce every last detail of how to approach the matter of gender identity.
These policies stem from action from the very top.
One of President Joe Biden’s first acts in January 2021 was to use his perch atop the largest employer in the United States to dive right into the radical gender policy. On his first day as president, Biden signed Executive Order 13988, called “Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.” The executive order states:
Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports. Adults should be able to earn a living and pursue a vocation knowing that they will not be fired, demoted, or mistreated because of whom they go home to or because how they dress does not conform to sex-based stereotypes.
Biden’s executive order directed government agencies to review all policies, conform to the newly established principles of the Biden administration, take necessary actions, and produce plans demonstrating such.
With the stroke of a pen, and without any vote on the issue, the entire federal government workforce was forced to take the deeply unpopular side of a contentious social issue.
Biden’s order has been followed by a series of related orders, pronouncements, and initiatives.
Office of Personnel Management
In its “Guidance Regarding Gender Identity and Inclusion in the Federal Workplace,” dated March 2023, the Office of Personnel Management states that any federal employees who don’t comply with the use of fake pronouns may be disciplined for contributing to “an unlawful hostile work environment.”
OPM directs agencies to support “transitioning” employees by instating transgender points of contact and offering support for “workplace transitions” such as name and pronoun changes in employee profiles.
The agency goes so far as to say that men should be allowed in ladies’ rooms and vice versa.
“Agencies should not restrict any employee to a single user facility instead of common facilities,” OPM directs.
In the Biden administration, the Department of Agriculture is guided by a memo from its Sub-Working Group for the Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World.
Among other things, that document adds LGBTQ strings to foreign agriculture grants.
Customs and Border Protection
We uncovered the infamous document showing that Biden administration officials directed Border Patrol agents to use the “preferred pronouns” of illegal aliens who are invading the United States.
Federal Bureau of Prisons
A clinical guidance document obtained from the Federal Bureau of Prisons shows that the Biden administration is providing taxpayer-funded transgender operations for inmates.
These surgeries include various procedures to remove, create, enlarge, and reshape sex organs request. Federal prisoners also may request feminizing or masculinizing hormone therapy from a prison warden.
The process is reviewed by a Transgender Utilization Review Advisory Group, which assesses whether a requested procedure is “medically needed” and makes recommendations to a medical director for final approval.
Biden’s Treasury Department created an internal policy mandating use of the letter “X” as a gender marker, instead of the traditional “M” and “F.”
Treasury’s gender policy is overseen by a special “bureau designee” whose job is “to ensure adherence to this policy in all official communications and written materials.”
The Interior Department’s lengthy personnel bulletin on the matter attempts a definition of “gender identity” that hinges on “an individual’s internal sense of being male, female, another gender, no gender, of multiple genders, or fluid in gender.”
Even with this “fluid” definition, department employees who use the wrong name or pronoun are considered to be practicing unlawful discrimination.
Justice Department (Antitrust Division)
According to a “Manager’s Diversity Tip Sheet” for the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department, managers should play an active role in mandating “gender identity inclusion.”
Managers should screen interviewers’ reports for new hires and crack down on noncompliance with gender policies.
Managers are encouraged to “carefully probe remarks suggesting the interviewee was uncomfortable” and “consider whether unconscious bias may have played a role.”
Managers also should proactively correct employees of the Antitrust Division who “misgender” coworkers and facilitate introductions by sharing their own preferred pronouns.
According to its Strategies for Gender Identity Inclusion in the Workplace, the division has plans in the works to further increase such diversity and inclusion.
What Biden Admin Is Doing
These and other documents reveal a massive muscle movement by the federal government under the Biden administration, in which minute details are given intricate thought and put into enforceable rules governing employee behavior.
This movement includes creation of a class of transgender commissars throughout the alphabet soup of government agencies, complete with boards and multilayered organizational charts.
The end result of these efforts, and what I expect to be the actual sinister motive, is an act of ideological segregation by the federal government. The end is not to protect other people’s feelings, but to strictly enforce ideological compliance and ensure a bureaucratic workforce aligned with radical political aims.
Incidentally, the same theory holds for the federal government’s vaccine mandate during the COVID-19 pandemic, which had the net effect of purging ideological dissenters.
Leftists are acutely aware of the federal government’s power to set standards. Workplace rules and dictates are likely to bleed down to state and local governments and corporations, as well as the wide community of federal contractors.
This isn’t about just remaking the administrative state, it is about transgendering America.
But at least we now know exactly what we need to rip out when sanity is returned to the White House.
Mike Howell is an investigative columnist for The Daily Signal and director of The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project. The Oversight Project is an initiative aimed at obtaining information via Freedom of Information Act requests and other means in order to best inform the public and Congress for the purposes of Congressional oversight. The requests and analysis of information are informed by The Heritage Foundation’s deep policy expertise. By function, the Oversight Project is primarily engaged in disseminating information to the public.
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