Liberals, and those who do not have to live with the consequences, applaud the Secretary of Defense’s decision to allow transgender individuals to serve the U.S. armed forces. Many will point to a study published in the journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy that the Pentagon paid for with taxpayer money. The February 2020 findings erroneously suggested active-duty military personnel supported admitting transgender people to their ranks. Writing for Liberty Nation, Joe Schaeffer discredited those findings in his critical piece, Pentagon Funds Biased Pro-Transgender Military Study. Schaefer explained:
“Of course, there is nothing definitive about this new pro-transgender military survey whatsoever. A January 2019 poll of 1,031 service members and veterans conducted by Smithsonian magazine in conjunction with the military publication Stars and Stripes and George Mason University’s Schar School found 61% disagreeing with the statement: ‘I approve of transgender people in the military.’ That’s near twice as many respondents as the Sexuality Research and Social Policy survey.”
In a tweet published in the Military Times, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says: “Trans rights are human rights, and on this #TransDayOfVisibility, I am pleased to announce we’ve updated DoD policy on the open service of transgender individuals.” The inference is that the right to self-identify as a male or female, regardless of what your chromosomes definitively indicate, is a human right. Humans serve in the military; ergo, transgender people have a right to serve in the military.
That thinking is wrong at its core. It’s safe to assume that people who walk into military recruiters’ offices are human, but not all qualify for any number of reasons. Serving in the U.S. armed force is not a human right. It can’t be. This thinking is pure identity politics in action.
In an article for Liberty Nation back in 2019, Kelli Ballard points out in Court Says No Gender Bending in The Military that former President Trump’s partial ban on transgender people serving in the military was legal. As Ballard explained:
“Soldiers need to be in the best physical and mental condition possible. They need to be ready to fight for their country and protect its citizens in a moment’s notice. Baring certain transgender from service is not discriminatory – at least no more so than preventing someone with flat feet, high blood pressure, or any other disqualifying medical condition…”
It’s not just disqualifying medical conditions that make transgender people less than ideal military members as a population. Muri Assuncao, writing for the New York Daily in 2020, explained that in the largest-ever survey on LGBTQ mental health, a number of trans youth believed that ending their lives was an option worth considering. Fortifying these statistics, Fran Smith, in an article for the Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California, writes:
“The picture becomes even more alarming when researchers analyze data by subgroups of gender identity. In a 2018 study of youth ages 11-19, 51% of transgender males said they’d attempted suicide. For transgender females, the figure was 30%.”
There is already a worrisome problem in the military with an alarming suicide rate. Adding a trans population already shown to be disposed to ending their lives is not going to help.
A RAND study, “The Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly in the U.S. Military,” explored “Key Policy Questions” regarding transgender individuals serving in the military. In looking at the unique health needs of trans personnel, “those who experience significant distress related to their transgender status may have a medical condition called gender dysphoria and may require some combination of psychosocial, pharmacologic, or surgical care.” If those descriptors were applied to a non-trans member of the military, they would be disqualified from joining the military.
The RAND study also looked at how many transgender and “gender nonconforming” personnel would have to be accommodated. The conclusion was that trans individuals would make up 0.1 – 0.05% of the armed forces, but all would have to be accommodated in some way, despite their small number.
To be fair, the RAND study looked at other countries that allow transgender military personnel to serve openly. There are 18. The findings were that the essential criteria, operational readiness, was not impacted negatively, nor was there any mention that the readiness was enhanced or improved. All would be considered friends and allies.
Enemies, on the other hand, who represent a combat threat, Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea, are not among them. If any of these adversary countries believed having transgender members openly serving would provide an advantage, such people would be forced into their respective military forces.
According to ABC News, President Biden – in his inimitable, and deeply insightful way – commented on allowing transgenders in the military, during his presidential campaign: “They can shoot as straight as anybody else can shoot.”
So, what are we left with? We have identity politics mandating that trans individuals have a human right to serve in the U.S. armed forces. We will have a trans population more likely to commit suicide. There are 61% of active-duty members of the military who do not think serving with transgender people is a good thing. We have the Department of Defense leadership by contrast buying into a false narrative that trans folks in the military are a good thing.
And no one can demonstrate that identity politics does a thing to better achieve the national security mission. Keeping the U.S. safe from enemies who do not buy into identity politics is crucial. With the Pentagon now guided by identity politics masquerading as human rights, America’s adversaries will be better positioned to outmatch her.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
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