Report: Marines should use gender-neutral identifiers

Morning In America

(NewsNation) — A new, nearly 800-page report recommends eliminating gender identifiers for drill instructors in the Marines, though this suggestion is getting a less-than-enthusiastic response from one service leader, according to the Marine Corps Times,

The report, commissioned by the Marine Corps from the University of Pittsburgh in 2020, points out that half of the military services have already removed gender identifiers for training staff.

For example, the Army, Navy and Coast Guard de-emphasize gender in an integrated environment.

“Instead of saying ‘ma’am’ or ‘sir,’ recruits are referring to drill instructors by their ranks or roles followed by last names,” the report said.

Authors of the report highlighted a number of ways the Marine Corps boot camp makes male Marines the standard. Three of the five sections of service history taught at boot camp contain no explicit mention of female Marines, they wrote, and the Corps still has the smallest percentage of female service members. In the hundreds of pages of the report, there were a half-dozen recommendations to rectify this.

Using gender-neutral identifiers is an “unambiguous, impartial way to circumvent these issues,” the authors of the report said. These identifiers eliminate the possibility of misgendering drill instructors as well, which authors said can unintentionally “offend or cause discord.”

“By teaching recruits to use gender-neutral identifiers for their drill instructors, services underscore the importance of respecting authoritative figures regardless of gender,” the report said.

Col. Howard Hall, chief of staff for Marine Corps Training and Education Command, was quoted in the Marine Corps Times as saying this is not a “quick fix,” though.

Another reservation Hall had was that making the move to use gender-neutral identifiers would put boot camp practices out of step with fleet ones.

He told the outlet: “All of a sudden, we change something at recruit training, and recruits start coming in and using a different identifier. It’s not something we would change overnight.”

“Again, we’ve got a history of ‘sir, ma’am, sir, ma’am. If we change something at the root level, how do we make the corresponding change at the Fleet Marine Force? So it’s not ours to implement alone,” Hall added.

However, the colonel did also say the Corps is working to change the training materials talked about in the study.

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