The Air Force Academy Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, faced questioning in Congress regarding the academy’s endorsement of a fellowship intended for individuals who identify as “demigender.” The discussion arose during a Congressional hearing when Rep. Matt Gaetz expressed concerns about the exclusion of cisgender individuals and the unclear criteria surrounding the fellowship.
Seeking clarification, Gaetz pressed Clark to define “demigender” and “a-gender,” to which Clark initially provided an ambiguous response. Eventually, Clark admitted to being uncertain about the exact definitions of these terms.
Gaetz criticized the academy’s support for the fellowship, highlighting the potential lack of understanding regarding its criteria and implications, especially considering the exclusion of cisgender men. This raised broader questions about the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs without a clear understanding of their terms.
In defense, Clark stated that the fellowship was not directly initiated by the Air Force Academy but allowed cadets to apply as a means to nurture their potential as future combatants.
This episode reflects a larger debate, with some Republicans, including Gaetz, criticizing what they perceive as excessive “wokeness” in the military under the Biden administration. They argue that the armed forces are already diverse and that these programs can be divisive and divert resources from combat readiness.
On the other hand, Democrats emphasize the importance of diversity initiatives, advocating for a military that reflects the diversity of the entire U.S. population. They believe in actively increasing representation of women, minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community.
In response to these debates, Republicans have introduced a bill in the House, called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which aims to limit the Department of Defense’s efforts to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in service academies. While the bill awaits further voting and potential enactment, it has received bipartisan support, and many of its provisions are expected to remain intact.
New Controversy Arises Over Air Force Academy’s Support for “Demigender” Fellowship