Leading the charge is Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack (picture, left), a former Democratic governor of Iowa, who has launched a “Cultural Transformation” campaign across his department that features a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender [LGBT] Special Emphasis Program.
“Talking about LGBT issues is not always easy because people have different perceptions and feelings based on their respective experiences or beliefs,” explained the newsletter. “However, it is imperative that we have these critical conversations about LGBT issues because LGBT inclusion is now part of official USDA policy.”
The USDA’s training coordinator, Bill Scaggs, has developed a sensitivity program that outpaces the training the Pentagon is imposing on soldiers in anticipation of the lifting of the ban on homosexuals serving in the armed forces. Scagg’s program, which the OPM says is a “groundbreaking” model for other federal agencies, goes further into “gay issues and terminology” and “also justifies pro-homosexual political positions,” reported the Times.
Included in the training is a “discussion that compares ‘heterosexism’— believing marriage can be between only one man and one woman — to racism,” reported the Times. The paper added that if the proposal is embraced by the Obama administration, it “could mean more sessions for military service members already undergoing gay-sensitivity indoctrination. Critics fear additional gay-oriented training would add an unnecessary burden for combat troops and encourage some to leave.”
Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness, an organization that has warned of the consequences of lifting the ban on homosexuals serving in the armed forces, told the Times that she saw “disturbing implications for national defense in the USDA’s development of a ‘groundbreaking’ training program that is to become a model for other federal agencies.” She predicted that once the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on homosexuals in the military is lifted, “training programs similar to the USDA’s LGBT Special Emphasis Program will become a growth industry within the Department of Defense.” Such a move is destined to “drive out thousands of experienced troops, starting with chaplains and people of faith who do not support LGBT ideology and activism,” she said.
The Times described a briefing that USDA trainer Scaggs presented to agency staffers in which he described some of the elements of his sensitivity program. Entitled “Including Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Diversity,” the slide presentation previewed such training topics as how to promote “workplace diversity,” and explained that while most people “develop a gender identity that matches their biological sex,” for others “gender identity is different from biological sex (transsexuals).”
As for helping a person leave the homosexual lifestyle, that “[u]sually doesn’t work and may even be harmful,” explained one slide, with the possibility that it will generate in the individual “feelings of depression, hopelessness, shame and anxiety. Some people become suicidal.”
Playing to the homosexual activist mantra, another slide defines heterosexism as an “ 'ism’ like sexism or racism, where one is considered better than others,” giving as examples the ban on homosexuals serving in the military and laws defining marriage as only between one man and one woman.
The briefing also describes what it calls the “Lavender Ceiling, when “homophobia and heterosexism are an established part of the workplace culture and the open service, career development and promotional advancement of GLBT employees is impeded or prevented.”
USDA spokesman Justin DeJong was apparently referring to just such a “ceiling” when he told the Times that the sensitivity training regimen was part of an effort to reverse years of “systemic discrimination” at the agency. “USDA makes this training available as part of our commitment to ensuring that all constituents and employees are treated fairly and equally,” he said.