Higher Education

Ray Carter | December 12, 2022

OSU documents focus on ‘gender confirmation’ surgery, transgender advocacy

Ray Carter

A range of Oklahoma State University documents, obtained through an open-records request, describe the idea that heterosexuality is the prevalent norm in society as a Western “system of power,” dismiss biological sex as an “ambiguous” term, indicate that OSU officials will help train high-school students in transgender advocacy, and encourage individuals to seek out personal information from others in ways experts warn could prompt lawsuits in the workplace.

The documents were obtained through an open-records request filed by Do No Harm, an organization that describes its mission as protecting healthcare “from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology,” a reference to “anti-racism.” Anti-racism is a Critical Race Theory-associated worldview whose advocates have written that “racial discrimination is not inherently racist” and that the “only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination.”

Do No Harm shared the OSU documents with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs for this article.

Laura Morgan, program manager for Do No Harm, said the materials show Oklahomans have reason to be concerned about the ideologies being touted at Oklahoma State University, including in medical training.

“Do No Harm is concerned about divisive and dangerous ideologies infiltrating American medical schools,” Morgan said. “The documents obtained from Oklahoma State indicate that the troublesome focus on equity is a university-wide problem. Money spent on staff training in anti-racism, implicit or unconscious bias, and microaggressions is a waste of taxpayer dollars at best and an attack on academic integrity at worst.”

A slide from one Oklahoma State University presentation on “diversity at work” discusses “silent diversity.” An associated note declared, “In addition to diversity that can be obvious among people, such as gender and age, there are also diversities among people that may not be so obvious. These include: Religion, Mental/psychological disabilities, Beliefs and values, Sexual orientation, and Personal habits.”

Presentation notes stated, “It’s important that we be aware of these differences, even though they may not come through in the workplace every day.”

That presentation did not specify how officials are to “be aware” of “silent diversity” differences, but the notes from a slide that was part of a separate “Making Diversity Work” presentation directed attendees to ask “members of other groups about their cultures and traditions.”

If implemented in the workplace, that could lead to legal problems for employers.

“Anytime an employee has to articulate information about themselves, especially protected categories like race, religion, sexual orientation, you’re begging for a discrimination lawsuit if anything negative happens to that employee,” said William E. Trachman, general counsel for the Mountain States Legal Foundation. “Because that employee will immediately think, ‘Well, I disclosed my private information, and I was given a bad review or given a bad office or terminated.’ And they will put the two things together.”

Trachman previously served in the U.S. Department of Education as deputy assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights and as general counsel for the Douglas County School District in Colorado.

A focus on “silent diversity” can prompt legal problems if it involves officials actively seeking information on employees’ or co-workers’ religions, sexual orientations, etc., Trachman noted.

“It’s a little bit weird to have an administrator saying, ‘Oh, are you Christian?’” Trachman said. “Because I could definitely see an intimidation factor if people are asking people for details that are correlated with how people treat you, whether it’s discriminatory or (they) pay more attention to you or less attention to you.”

Other OSU documents include materials that have become common on many college campuses, although the concepts touted are rejected by much of the general populace.

A virtual training offered by the OSU Office of Multicultural Affairs in 2020 included a section titled, “Ally Packet: LGBTQ Safe Zone.” It included discussion of the “gender unicorn,” which states that there are more genders than male or female and refers to “sex assigned at birth.”

A page on “Important LGBTQ Terminology” included AMAB/AFAB (Assigned [Male/Female] At Birth), as well as what was called “gender confirmation” surgery, which the documents defined as surgery “to alter an individual’s appearance—most often their genitalia—to create a body that is in harmony with their gender identity.” The document also included Heteronormative, which it defined, “The system of power within most (if not all) Western societies that considers heterosexuality to be the expected norm.”

Other terms on the list of “Important LGBTQ Terminology” included Latinx, Pansexual (defined as someone “who has physical and romantic attraction that is not limited with regard to biological sex or gender identity”), Transmisogyny (“The combination of hatred of women and hatred of transgender individuals which manifests as hatred and discrimination against trans individuals who are more feminine.”), and Two Spirit (“Indigenous persons who have attributes of men and women, have distinct gender and social roles in their tribes, and are often leaders in spiritual or ceremonial life. They are generally seen as a separate or third gender. The term is usually considered specific to the Zuni tribe. Other identity labels vary by tribe.”)

The training advised participants that the OSU Office of Multicultural Affairs can provide resources that include a “transgender clothing closet, scholarships, transgender support group, and all-gender restroom list.”

And the training indicated that OSU provides support for an Oklahoma State GSA Leadership Summit, which is described as a “leadership summit for high school students involved/interested in Gender and Sexuality Associations (GSAs).”

Another OSU document declared, “Biological sex is an ambiguous word that has no scale and no meaning besides that it is related to some sex characteristics.” It also declared that the male/female binary “is mostly a European construct” and claimed that sex “is not exclusively determined through genitals.”

The documents also show that a fall 2020 staff conference at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa included sessions on addressing “unconscious bias and microaggressions.” An OSU-Tulsa spring 2021 staff conference included a keynote speech on the Tulsa Race Massacre and sessions on “restoring racial justice” and “addressing microaggressions.”

[For more stories about higher education in Oklahoma, visit]

Ray Carter Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter

Director, Center for Independent Journalism

Ray Carter is the director of OCPA’s Center for Independent Journalism. He has two decades of experience in journalism and communications. He previously served as senior Capitol reporter for The Journal Record, media director for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and chief editorial writer at The Oklahoman. As a reporter for The Journal Record, Carter received 12 Carl Rogan Awards in four years—including awards for investigative reporting, general news reporting, feature writing, spot news reporting, business reporting, and sports reporting. While at The Oklahoman, he was the recipient of several awards, including first place in the editorial writing category of the Associated Press/Oklahoma News Executives Carl Rogan Memorial News Excellence Competition for an editorial on the history of racism in the Oklahoma legislature.

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