(RepublicanReport.org) – In October, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) updated its Gender Identity Non-Discrimination and Inclusion Policy for Employees and Applicants called HHS Pronoun Guidance. The policy usage aligns with the US Office of Personnel Management, which received guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It details pronoun usage for applicants and employees, including to what degree improper use of pronouns contributes to an unlawful, hostile work environment.
On November 17, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN) introduced the Safeguarding Honest Speech Act, which would prohibit any federal agency from forcing employees or contractors to use pronouns or names that don’t align with a person’s biological sex or legal documents. Cruz called the policy an “unconstitutional violation” of free speech. However, the public swiftly roasted the senator. San Antonio Express-News noted the irony that the lawmaker introducing the legislation doesn’t even go by his own birth name. The senator’s “preferred name” is Ted, while his given name is Rafael Edward. Over 12,000 people retweeted the dig.
The Texas legislator hit back, calling the outlet “lying hacks.” Cruz said his bill doesn’t “ban anyone from saying anything,” but stops the federal government from “forcing anyone to use preferred pronouns or names.” He mocked the San Antonio Express-News for posting a “dishonest headline.” The news outlet’s headline for the story read: “Ted Cruz bill would bar federal funds to enforce preferred pronouns. Critics call out his preferred name.” That headline is accurate.
The HHS policy states that unintentional and isolated incidents of misgendering and misnaming employees would probably not rise to the level of unlawful harassment. However, persistent and intentional usage of incorrect names and pronouns could. As for Cruz’s bill, it’s unlikely to advance in the Senate, especially considering the GOP is currently in the minority.
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