Memo: State Department Urges Staffers to Avoid Gendered Language

Laramie LGBTQ residen and University of Wyoming Alumni Ray Kasckow holds pins about gender
PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department reportedly told staffers in a memo they should avoid using gendered phrases like “mother” or “father” for fear of offense.

In a press briefing on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the directions on gendered language was a matter of “respect,” adding that while the memo may have had Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s signature, it did not come from his desk.

“If you look at that memo, as I have done, it’s a standard government practice to try to encourage people just to be respectful of others and use the terms with which others are comfortable and talk to people the way that they would like to be addressed. And nothing more than that,” Miller said.

The message, first reported on by National Review, told staffers that terms like “mother/father” and “son/daughter” were potentially “problematic” while urging them to start including their preferred pronouns in email signatures and meeting instructions.

The subject of the cable is “Modeling DEIA: Gender Identity Best Practices,” and its aim is to “increase understanding of gender identity and provide guidance on gender identity language and best practices that support an inclusive work environment.”

The cable says that gender is a social construct and that gender identity is a person’s “innermost concept of self as masculine, feminine, a blend of both, or neither,” which “may or may not correspond with one’s sex assigned at birth.”

It suggests that State Department employees identify their pronouns in their email signatures and when introducing themselves in meetings “to show respect and avoid misunderstandings.”

The memo went on to suggest such “commonly used pronouns” like “she/her, he/him, they/them, and ze/zir,” calling it a “personal decision that should be respected.”

Paul Roland Bois directed the award-winning feature filmEXEMPLUM, which can be viewed for FREE on YouTube or Tubi. “Better than Killers of the Flower Moon,” wrote Mark Judge. “You haven’t seen a story like this before,” wrote Christian Toto. A high-quality, ad-free stream can also be purchased on Google Play or Vimeo on Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.


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