Frightening ‘Orwellian’ HHS Mandate: Forced to Deny Reality and Break the Law?

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently mandated that employees must refer to people by their “self-identified sexual preference or gender pronoun (e.g., ‘he,’ ‘she,’ ‘him,’ and ‘her’),” even if that pronoun conflicts with their biological sex. This mandate effectively ignores well-established laws, forcing employees to deny reality. The mandate directly contravenes existing civil rights laws, including Title IX, which prohibits discrimination against individuals based on their sex or gender. Clearly, this mandate blatantly disregards those same laws – and civil liberties – by requiring employees to acknowledge that a man can be referred to as “she” and vice versa. This latest Orwellian dictate is especially concerning given HHS’s role as the regulatory arbitrator for health care-related offenses. HHS is not only powerful but wields immense influence over the country’s health care operations. Therefore, as long as such a coercive mandate is in place, employees will effectively have to deny biological reality and violate the law in order to avoid being reprimanded or worse. Equally alarming is the lack of legal recourse available to employees. It’s unclear how Congress intends to deal with the HHS’s violation of the law, since Title IX protectees are often unable to challenge the department’s decisions. The HHS refuses to back down, as a spokesperson recently stated that “organizations must comply with the law in order to receive federal money.” This effectively leaves HHS employees with no legal alternative but to comply or risk their jobs. Although this mandate ostensibly aims to demonstrate inclusivity and acceptance, it fundamentally deprives individuals of their most fundamental rights. To make matters worse, it gives one department of the U.S. government unilateral power to enforce its policy without any legal recourse. Given the implications, it’s up to Congress to intervene and rebuke the HHS’s blatant disregard for the law.