U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08) this week responded to news that the Marine Corps is considering a report recommending the branch ditch gendered identifiers for drill instructors.
The Corps commissioned a study per a $2 million contract with the University of Pittsburgh. The report broadly recommends “direct, sustained training from drill instructors of both genders” to emphasize that “men and women are equally respected and authoritative leaders of their Service.” A study section addresses allegedly discriminatory language and suggests that the Corp may want to consider instructing personnel to call their superior officers by their ranks and last names rather than “Sir” or “Ma’am.”
According to the report, gendered salutations “have the potential to remind recruits of negative stereotypes they hold and could subconsciously affect the way recruits react to drill instructors of different genders.” The document also raised the possibility that recruits could “misgender” their drill instructors, i.e., refer to them by the pronouns or titles that correspond to their biological sexes rather than their personal preferences.
The congressman faulted the university researchers for failing to corroborate their assertions with empirical data.
“Obviously this is insane,” Gallagher said in a statement. “I hope the Commandant not only rejects the recommendation but also asks for his money back. The Marine Corps may have problems, but the use of gendered terms at boot camp is not one of them.”
The Green Bay-area representative is a Marine Corps veteran, having served for seven years on active duty with two deployments to Iraq. He has strongly criticized past instances of what he terms “wokeism in the Armed Forces.” In particular, he has rebuked the Department of Defense’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) system, which has assigned recruits to read radically leftist texts — e.g., How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi — as part of their training.
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