In a move aimed at preserving what she terms “femininity” against perceived “woke, anti-women words,” Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed an executive order mandating gender-specific terminology in official state documents. The order, detailed in a public address, necessitates the replacement of gender-neutral terms with what she refers to as “female-affirming” alternatives. For instance, the order mandates using “pregnant woman” or “pregnant mom” instead of “pregnant person” and “breastfeeding” in place of “chestfeeding.”
During the signing of the order, Governor Sanders emphasized her commitment to this stance, stating, “We are all here to say enough. Enough trying to erase women and girls. Enough denying our biological differences from men. Enough of the craziness taking over our country.” She criticized progressive ideologies for utilizing what she termed “nonsense words” to erase women’s voices and experiences.
However, the scientific and medical communities have long recognized gender dysphoria and established effective treatment protocols affirming individuals’ gender identities. Contrary to Governor Sanders’ assertion about “basic grammar,” the use of singular “they” is grammatically correct and not a new concept in English. It has historical precedent and is recognized by reputable linguistic authorities.
Governor Sanders’s stance has drawn criticism for disregarding the experiences and identities of transgender, nonbinary, and genderfluid individuals. The Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative LGBTQ+ organization, expressed support for her move, emphasizing the need to recognize biological distinctions between men and women.
This executive order emerges amid a broader national conversation on gender-neutral language, with various states, workplaces, and educational institutions adopting “culturally conscious” or “inclusive” language initiatives. These initiatives aim to foster an inclusive environment for all individuals, regardless of gender identity. Critics argue that Governor Sanders’ executive order discriminates against transgender and nonbinary individuals, emphasizing that not all individuals with the ability to bear children or menstruate identify as women.
In a nation grappling with evolving attitudes towards gender and language, this executive order has ignited a heated debate about the balance between preserving traditional gender roles and recognizing the diversity of gender identities.