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‘America Looks Weak’: Long-Serving State Department Official Speaks Out After Pronoun Fiasco

Image CreditAlexander Grey/Pexels

‘We look preoccupied and weak to our adversaries and potential allies.’


Last week, State Department employees’ email name displays were assigned involuntary, and in some instances incorrect, pronouns. A long-serving State Department official, who has been granted anonymity due to the legitimate fear of government retribution, provided The Federalist a look into the internal reaction to the department’s pronoun fiasco.

Below is an exclusive image obtained by The Federalist showing how the pronouns appeared on employees’ emails:

News of the involuntary pronouns was publicized by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee, who asked deputy State Department spokesman Vedant Patel during a press conference why the pronouns are not optional, particularly because the department is assigning incorrect ones. 

Patel, who appeared unaware of the newly assigned pronouns, was visibly displeased by the line of questioning, dismissively telling Lee, “Thank you, Matt,” and adding, “I will look into this … Thanks, everybody. Happy Thursday.”

Later, State Department Chief Information Officer Kelly E. Fletcher sent out an email to all personnel, stating that the pronoun feature was a “test” that “inadvertently went live.” Fletcher also offered professional counseling services for those “who [feel] hurt or upset as a result of this unfortunate mistake.” 

‘It’s Insulting’ 

According to The Federalist’s source, many of the bureaus’ diversity czars also weighed in. The department official said each bureau, of which there are dozens within the State Department responsible for various policy initiatives, is required to have a full-time diversity officer. This is in addition to the State Department’s chief diversity officer.

“There’s a lot of people being paid a lot of money to send emails and lecture us about diversity,” the source said.

The diversity czar for at least two bureaus sent an email asking staff to reflect on how the so-called misgendering of coworkers made them feel and to understand that is why they should feel bad any time they use the ostensibly wrong pronouns of another person. “The department made the mistake,” he said. “It’s condescending and insulting to take a mistake that you made and turn it into an opportunity to lecture us.”

“You’ve got a group of people who have chosen to work at the State Department, with a diverse group of people from around the world, who have lived overseas and studied other languages,” the source continued. “There’s no real evidence that that population of people are particularly biased and need to be lectured constantly on this. If anything, they don’t.”

“For an agency that perennially complains about not having enough staff to do its core mission, they have devoted quite a lot of people and time to do nothing but talk about diversity,” the official stated. Compared to agencies like the Department of Defense, the State Department is relatively small. “It’s just become a waste of taxpayer resources,” the official added of staff misallocation.

‘America Looks Preoccupied and Weak’

The source told The Federalist that the department’s constant diversity displays have a negative effect on America’s international standing. “It makes us look preoccupied and weak to our adversaries and potential allies,” the source stated.

“When we spend a lot of time criticizing ourselves and our own record on diversity, and saying things like ‘we’re a bad country,’ ‘we were founded by slaveholders,’ ‘we are irreparably racist,’ and whatever else, to a lot of people it’s kind of like if you spend all day talking to people about your family’s problems,” the person added.

“We think it’s a sign that we’re introspective and a signal that we’re not perfect, but, frankly, a lot of people want America to be a little bit perfect, because if it’s not us, it’s going to be China or Russia. They want us to be strong and focused on international security. They don’t want us beating ourselves up because that makes us weaker, and it makes us less attractive as a partner.” 

‘Taking Things Too Far’

The official told The Federalist that the diversity czars have even begun to sour even political leftists within the department despite the latter usually being inclined to agree with woke posturing. “Even people who are predisposed to actually agree with this stuff think the department is taking things too far,” the source said.

“Having one person in every bureau that’s writing to us constantly with these lessons on diversity is like a sermon,” the person continued. “Every week, you get a sermon on diversity, whether you like it or not.”

Nothing New

Indulging in delusion and embarrassing our nation has become a key feature of the State Department since Joe Biden took office. In May of 2021, National Review publicized internal guidance emails urging employees to “consider a shift in language to avoid making assumptions that can be offensive to transgender and gender nonconforming employees” and try using “words like everyone, colleagues, and esteemed guests rather than ladies and gentlemen.”

Just a few months later, in October 2021, the State Department posted a tweet celebrating “international pronouns day.” An article the department shared about the fake holiday discussed the delusional justifications for supposed preferred pronouns and explained the meaning behind “pioneering” pronouns like “ze/zir/zirs.”

The tweet was posted on the heels of the deadly and humiliating Afghanistan withdrawal, highlighting in a very meta way the backwardness of the department’s priorities.

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