The U.S. government is sparing no effort to spread radical gender ideology at home and abroad.
It’s not popular at home. The more Americans grasp the horrors of what gender ideology is, the more they reject it. Its growing presence in medicine and K-12 schools is most polarizing. Beneath its euphemisms, gender ideology is irrational, destructive and anti-human. Nevertheless, the left is trying to bully and confuse Americans into accepting it.
Meanwhile, President Biden is directing the full financial and diplomatic heft of the U.S. government to export gender ideology and other such pet projects. Yet they’re more than unpopular in the developing world — they’re toxic.
The gender radicals make no secret of their plans. The presidential memorandum on advancing LGBTQ rights abroad was the outline. The National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality is the blueprint. And the U.S. government juggernaut is now using it to bully smaller, poorer developing countries. Woe to the religious believers and traditional families who stand in the way.
Such families live in countries as far from one another as Guatemala, Indonesia and Uganda. They profess different religious beliefs and come from diverse racial and ethnic groups. But they share traditional beliefs about marriage, family and sexual morality. They believe that God created men and women to be different for good reason.
To the Biden team, these convictions are old-fashioned and bigoted. And they’re determined to use American diplomacy and foreign assistance to try to convert them.
Last year, USAID rewrote its gender policy to reflect the left’s obsession with gender theory. The word “gender” used to be a polite alternative to “sex.” But USAID redefined it as a social construct and “gender identity” as a “self-determined” sense of oneself. These new definitions open the category of “women” to anyone, male or female, who identifies as one.
Today, USAID boasts a network of over 180 gender advisers embedded in its offices worldwide. These gender advisers integrate the agency’s gender equity and equality goals into programming.
USAID recently released a new guide on “Integrating LGBTQI+ Considerations Into Education Programming.” It recommends “train[ing] educators to model the use of inclusive language (i.e., names, pronouns, descriptors).” It says that lessons should include information about “diverse sexual orientations and gender identities.”
The guide instructs its partners to avoid “policies based on a gender binary.” It urges them to support “students who want to express a different gender than what was assigned at birth.” And it promotes resources from GLSEN, the influential activist group that promotes gender ideology in classrooms.
USAID isn’t the only government agency on this mission. The State Department has an open grant for $1.5 million to participate in the Global Equality Fund. Recipients of this grant will empower local LGBTQ communities and promote social inclusion. Last year, another grant funded lobbying to increase LGBTQ acceptance in Botswana.
The State Department requires grant applications to include a “gender and inclusion analysis.” It must include “gender norms, equity and equality for underserved communities and marginalized populations.” In other words, hopeful grant recipients must endorse these ideas before getting a single dollar. Those who refuse cannot even compete for funds.
USAID dispenses billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in the developing world. In many places, it has done good work. But now, it posts the genderbread person bearing the motto “from the American people” in those countries too. These images, and the ideology they serve, are anathema to traditional religions and cultures.
Using conditional aid to pursue worldwide adherence to gender ideology is wrong. It’s also foolish. While China and Russia buy influence around the globe, the U.S. tarnishes its good name in developing countries.
Gender ideology is poison to African children and families, and they know it. Whatever goodwill the U.S. might earn through genuine aid to the developing world, we are squandering by pushing the latest craze of the sexual left.
• Grace Melton is the senior associate for international social issues at The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Life, Religion and Family.