FAIR Sends A Letter to Youth Development Organization 4-H Over Compelled Pronoun Usage
On July 27th, FAIR’s legal team sent a letter to Dr. Fe Moncloa, Youth Development Advisor at UCCE Santa Clara County in California, and Dr. Nia Imani Fields, Youth Development Specialist at the University of Maryland, regarding a policy implemented by 4-H, a subdivision of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Nation’s largest youth development organization.
The policy, “Practices for Inclusion of Individuals of all Genders and Sexual Orientations,” which is laudably aimed at mitigating bullying and harassment, is unfortunately fraught with misguided directives that are likely to result in free speech and parental rights violations.
The policy states, “[F]ailing to treat individuals in a way that is consistent with their gender identity, including using their expressed names and pronouns, may constitute harassment.” If harassment is identified, the program must “engage in appropriate corrective action.” Additionally, the policy states that “4-H will treat all participants according to their gender identity, even if a youth member’s own guardian raises objections.”
FAIR’s letter notes that “Requiring 4-H participants to use the preferred pronouns of others, under threat of ‘corrective action,’ violates their First Amendment rights. As a subsidiary of the United States Department of Agriculture, 4-H is bound by the First Amendment.” Moreover, the letter notes a “further concern that, by disregarding parents’ wishes regarding their child’s gender, 4-H is infringing upon the Constitutional rights of those parents.”