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Navy threatens to penalize sailors who purposely misuse gender pronouns

The new warning come as many conservatives are criticizing the military services under President Joe Biden for pursuing woke ideology, such as a critical race theory.

Published: June 26, 2022 11:00am

Updated: June 26, 2022 10:14pm

The Navy is threatening to penalize sailors who purposely misuse pronouns to describe transgender service members, viewing it as a violation of the service's harassment policy.

Sailors who run afoul of the policy could face administrative or judicial action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Navy Capt. Dave Hecht, a public affairs officer, told American Military News.

"Intentional misuse of transgender service member pronouns is inappropriate and inconsistent with the Navy zero tolerance policy on harassment," Hecht told the news site.

"The UCMJ prohibits provoking speeches or gestures, conduct that is of a nature to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces or is prejudicial to good order and discipline, maltreatment, and failure to obey lawful orders and regulations," he added. 

Hecht said the Navy "appreciates that pronouns are a part of individual identity" and that both civilian and uniformed Navy members are expected to use appropriate rank or title, pronounce names correctly and use "an individual's pronouns consistent with their gender marker" in the Navy database of service members known as DEERS.

The new warning comes as many conservatives are criticizing the military services under President Joe Biden for pursuing woke ideology, such as a critical race theory lessons for Army officers at West Point academy. A Navy training video also shows that sailors are receiving instruction on gender pronouns and "inclusive language."

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Just the News last week she plans to use appropriations riders for the next federal budget to eliminate such training.

"Our adversaries, they don't give a ripping flip about classes on choosing pronouns, or how woke the U.S. military is," Blackburn said.

"The U.S. military is there to protect this country," she added. "It is there to learn how to fight, to fight wars and to win. That is their job."  

The Navy video that surfaced last month showcases sailors discussing a "safe space for everybody" by using "inclusive language," like saying "Hey everyone" or "Hey team" instead of "Hey guys."

When asked whether the use of "Hey guys" could be punished, Hecht told American Military News that the Navy "does not mandate formulaic language for its members" but insists on "respect and dignity" to fellow service members and civilians.

Hecht told the news site that the emphasis on proper pronouns is part of a larger effort by the Navy to foster "a culture of respect for all of its members, both civilian and uniformed."

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