One of the most powerful yet unremarked-upon drivers of our current wars over definitions of gender is a concerted push by members of one of the richest families in the United States to transition Americans from a dimorphic definition of sex to the broad acceptance and propagation of synthetic sex identities (SSI). Over the past decade, the Pritzkers of Illinois, who helped put Barack Obama in the White House and include among their number former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and philanthropist Jennifer Pritzker, appear to have used a family philanthropic apparatus to drive an ideology and practice of disembodiment into our medical, legal, cultural, and educational institutions.
I first wrote about the Pritzkers, whose fortune originated in the Hyatt hotel chain, and their philanthropy directed toward normalizing what people call “transgenderism” in 2018. I have since stopped using the word “transgenderism” as it has no clear boundaries, which makes it useless for communication, and have instead opted for the term SSI, which more clearly defines what some of the Pritzkers and their allies are funding—even as it ignores the biological reality of “male” and “female” and “gay” and “straight.”
The creation and normalization of SSI speaks much more directly to what is happening in American culture, and elsewhere, under an umbrella of human rights. With the introduction of SSI, the current incarnation of the LGBTQ+ network—as distinct from the prior movement that fought for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, and which ended in 2020 with Bostock v. Clayton County, finding that LGBTQ+ is a protected class for discrimination purposes—is working closely with the techno-medical complex, big banks, international law firms, pharma giants, and corporate power to solidify the idea that humans are not a sexually dimorphic species—which contradicts reality and the fundamental premises not only of “traditional” religions but of the gay and lesbian civil rights movements and much of the feminist movement, for which sexual dimorphism and resulting gender differences are foundational premises.
Through investments in the techno-medical complex, where new highly medicalized sex identities are being conjured, Pritzkers and other elite donors are attempting to normalize the idea that human reproductive sex exists on a spectrum. These investments go toward creating new SSI using surgeries and drugs, and by instituting rapid language reforms to prop up these new identities and induce institutions and individuals to normalize them. In 2018, for example, at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at the University of California Los Angeles (where the Pritzkers are major donors and hold various titles), the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology advertised several options for young females who think they can be men to have their reproductive organs removed, a procedure termed “gender-affirming care.”
The Pritzkers became the first American family to have a medical school bear its name in recognition of a private donation when it gave $12 million to the University of Chicago School of Medicine in 1968. In June 2002, the family announced an additional gift of $30 million to be invested in the University of Chicago’s Biological Sciences Division and School of Medicine. These investments provided the family with a bridgehead into the world of academic medicine, which it has since expanded in pursuit of a well-defined agenda centered around SSI. Also in 2002, Jennifer Pritzker founded the Tawani Foundation, which has since provided funding to Howard Brown Health and Rush Memorial Medical Center in Chicago, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Foundation Fund, and the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Health, all of which provide some version of “gender care.” In the case of the latter, “clients” include “gender creative children as well as transgender and gender non-conforming adolescents ...”
In 2012, J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, worked with The Bridgespan Group—a management consultant to nonprofits and philanthropists—to develop a long-term strategy for the J.B and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. Their work together included conducting research on developments in the field of early childhood education, to which the foundation committed $25 million.
Ever since, a motivating and driving force behind the Pritzkers’ familywide commitment to SSI has been J.B.’s cousin Jennifer (born James) Pritzker—a retired lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard and the father of three children. In 2013, around the time gender ideology reached the level of mainstream American culture, Jennifer Pritzker announced a transition to womanhood. Since then, Pritzker has used the Tawani Foundation to help fund various institutions that support the concept of a spectrum of human sexes, including the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the Williams Institute UCLA School of Law, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Palm Military Center, the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), and many others. Tawani Enterprises, the private investment counterpart to the philanthropic foundation, invests in and partners with Squadron Capital LLC, a Chicago-based private investment vehicle that acquires a number of medical device companies that manufacture instruments, implants, cutting tools, and injection molded plastic products for use in surgeries. As in the case of Jon Stryker, founder of the LGBT mega-NGO Arcus Foundation, it is hard to avoid the impression of complementarity between Jennifer Pritzker’s for-profit medical investments and philanthropic support for SSI.
Pritzker also helps fund the University of Minnesota National Center for Gender Spectrum Health, which claims “the gender spectrum is inclusive of the wide array of gender identities beyond binary definitions of gender—inclusive of cisgender and transgender identities, gender queer, and nonbinary identities as a normal part of the natural expression of gender. Gender spectrum health is the healthy, affirmed, positive development of a gender identity and expression that is congruent with the individual’s sense of self.” The university, where Pritzker has served on the Leadership Council for the Program in Human Sexuality, provides “young adult gender services” in the medical school’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Health.
Pritzker’s philanthropy is also active in Canada, where Jennifer has helped fund the University of Toronto’s Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, a teaching institution invested in the deconstruction of human sex. An instructor in the Bonham Centre and the curator of its Sexual Representation Collection—“Canada’s largest archival collection of pornography”—is transgender studies professor Nicholas Matte, who denies categorically that sexual dimorphism exists. Pritzker also created the first chair in transgender studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The current chair, Aaron Devor, founded an annual conference called Moving Trans History Forward, whose keynote speaker in 2016 was the renowned transhumanist, Martine Rothblatt, who was mentored by the transhumanist Ray Kurzweil of Google. Rothblatt lectured there on the value of creating an organization such as WPATH to serve “tech transgenders” in the cultivation of “tech transhumanists.” (Rothblatt’s ideology of disembodiment and technological religion seems to be having nearly as much influence on American culture as Sirius satellite radio, which Rothblatt co-founded.) Rothblatt is an integral presence at Out Leadership, a business networking arm of the LGBTQ+ movement, and appears to believe that “we are making God as we are implementing technology that is ever more all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful, and beneficent.”
We are making God as we are implementing technology that is ever more all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful, and beneficent.
For-profit medical corporations and nonprofit institutions that intersect with the goliath LGBT NGO infrastructure, many of which receive Pritzker funding, have created a political scaffolding to engineer the institutionalization of SSI ideology and medical practice in the United States—solidifying the concept of people being born in wrongly sexed bodies or wrongly being born in sexed bodies at all. At least two clinics in California are now providing nonbinary surgeries and nullification surgeries for individuals who feel both male and female, or like neither.
The Gender Multispeciality Service (GeMS) at Boston Children’s Hospital, “the first major program in the U.S. to focus on gender-diverse and transgender adolescents,” was founded in 2007. “Since that time,” says the GeMS website, “we have expanded our program to welcome patients from ages 3 to 25.” The first such clinic for children in the Midwest, the Gender & Sex Development Program at Lurie Children’s Hospital, opened in Chicago in 2013 with a $500,000-$1 million gift pledge from Pritzker. (The husband of Jean “Gigi” Pritzker, another cousin, sits on Lurie’s board of directors.) The Gender Mapping Project estimates that there are now thousands of similar “gender clinics” around the world, and over 400 that offer to medically manipulate the sex of children.
Like Stryker’s Arcus Foundation, the Pritzkers have forged a close relationship with the psychiatric establishment. The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Lurie was launched with a $15 million gift from the Pritzker Foundation in 2019, and received another $6.45 million in 2022 to address “concerns about mental health consequences for children and adolescents arising from the COVID pandemic.” Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Jennifer’s cousin, signed into law SB 2085, Coverage of the Psychiatric Collaborative Care Model (CoCM)—the American Psychiatric Association’s model legislation requiring private insurers and Medicaid in Illinois to cover CPT codes for CoCM, which “requires a primary care (or other) physician or clinician to lead a team that includes a behavioral health care manager who checks in with patients at least once a month and an off-site psychiatric consultant who regularly reviews patients’ progress and offers advice.”
Jeanne Pritzker, married to J.B.’s brother Anthony, who is Jennifer’s cousin, is a training psychologist at UCLA where she and her husband established the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Scholarship to support medical students at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. Mrs. Pritzker is a member of the Board of Visitors at the Geffen School, which is affiliated with a children’s hospital named after Mattel—the multinational toy company that debuted a “transgender Barbie” recently made in the likeness of the actor Laverne Cox.
On June 30, 2019, Gov. Pritzker issued Executive Order 19-11, titled Strengthening Our Commitment to Affirming and Inclusive Schools, to welcome and support children with manufactured sex identities. A task force was established to outline statewide criteria for schools and teachers that recommended districts amend their school board policies “to strengthen protections for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students.”
In August 2021, Gov. Pritzker signed into law a new sex education bill for all public schools in Illinois, the first of its kind designed in accordance with the second edition of the National Sex Education Standards (NSES) to update sex ed curricula in K-12 schools. Bill SB0 818 will be implemented on or before Aug. 1, 2022. Though the bill includes a written opt-out for parents (but not an alternative if they do opt-out), many are concerned with the material being brought into children’s schools under the auspices of teaching them sexual health—namely gender identity ideology and other related material.
The NSES manual was crafted by The Future of Sex Education Initiative (FoSE) and funded by the Grove Foundation, which in turn has also worked with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (of Hewlett-Packard fortune) and Ford Foundation to institute Working to Institutionalize Sex Education (WISE)—“A national initiative that supports school districts in implementing sex education”—throughout the country. The Bridgespan Group, which assisted the Pritzkers with their philanthropic trajectory in 2012, was retained by the Packard Foundation to review its collaborative efforts across its investment portfolio and to report on a series of case studies, including the WISE initiative.
FoSE is a collaboration between three other organizations: The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (Siecus), “a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to affirming that sexuality is a natural and healthy part of life”; Advocates for Youth, “partnering with youth leaders, adult allies, and youth-serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people’s rights to honest sexual health information”; and Answer, “which provides and promotes unfettered access to comprehensive sexuality education for young people.” Each of these is also funded by the Grove Foundation, whose fortune comes from the now-deceased Andrew Grove, former CEO of Intel Corporation.
FoSE has created a “scaffolding approach” to teaching kids about sex in public schools and teaching them very young. Its credo is that “not only are younger children able to discuss sexuality-related issues but that the early grades may, in fact, be the best time to introduce topics related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, gender equality, and social justice related to the LGBTQ community before hetero- and cisnormative values and assumptions become more deeply ingrained and less mutable.”
Critics of the NSES standards created by the FoSE collaborative and now being implemented in Illinois under Gov. Pritzker may have concerns about a 72-page manual in which the term “anal sex” comes up 10 times and the word “intimacy” only half as often. The word “gender,” for what it’s worth, is used 270 times.
While many Americans are still trying to understand why women are being erased in language and law, and why children are being taught they can choose their sex, the Pritzker cousins and others may be well on their way to engineering a new way to be human. But what could possibly explain the abrupt drive of wealthy elites to deconstruct who and what we are and to manipulate children’s sex characteristics in clinics now spanning the globe while claiming new rights for those being deconstructed? Perhaps it is profit. Perhaps it is the pleasure of seeing one’s own personal obsessions writ large. Perhaps it is the human temptation to play God. No matter what the answer is, it seems clear that SSI will be an enduring part of America’s future.
Jennifer Bilek is an investigative journalist living in New York City. She writes at The 11th Hour Blog and tweets @bjportraits.