A newly-released, Pentagon-funded study concluded that a whopping two-thirds of U.S. military members support having transgender troops serve alongside them. The highly regarded news site, Military Times, reported the findings in a Feb. 28 article, prominently quoting the researchers’ sweeping conclusions. “Arguments against integration have been historically disproven through research examining the integration of women, racial/ethnic minorities and [lesbian, gay and bisexual] persons into the U.S. military,” the authors of the study wrote, Military Times noted. The new survey clearly aims to put transgender rights in the same historical light.
What was not reported, however, is the fact that the study is ludicrously biased from stem to tail. Titled “Support for Transgender Military Service from Active Duty United States Military Personnel,” the survey was published in a journal called “Sexuality Research and Social Policy,” which frequently promotes exotic fringe sexual elements in its “work.” Sample research items the journal has recently published include “Identity, Connectedness, and Sexual Health in the Gay Sauna” and “The Psychology of Kink: A Survey Study into the Relationships of Trauma and Attachment Style with BDSM Interests.”
Finding What They Wanted
The study’s abstract trumpets the pro-transgender attitudes of U.S. service personnel today. “We recruited 540 active duty service members serving one of the four major branches of the U.S. military between August 2017 and March 2018,” the abstract states. ‘We examined data from 486 heterosexual cisgender and LGB cisgender service members to understand their support for transgender people serving in the U.S. military. Findings indicate broad support for transgender military service across all four branches of the military and military ranks.”
Discovering “broad support” for transgender people in the military is undoubtedly not a hard thing to do if that was one’s intent all along. Study co-author Ian Holloway is a professor at UCLA. Speaking to a website called Gay City News, Holloway marveled that his survey’s results exceeded the positive expectations he brought into the supposedly objective research effort. “In terms of our hypothesis about acceptance, we did expect to find high levels of acceptance — but I don’t think we expected it to be this high,” Holloway said.
“Hypothesis of acceptance” is a gentle, scientific-sounding way to explain the heavy personal bias Holloway carried with him on this topic. In August 2017, the professor co-wrote an op-ed for a blog called “Take Care” titled “The War on Transgender Soldiers Flies in the Face of the Facts.” The opening paragraph of this screed against President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender people in the military should put the lie to any claims of neutrality for the new DoD-backed study.
“In just three tweets, President Trump attacked thousands of transgender service members,” Holloway and co-writer Jody L. Herman declared. “In 417 characters, he jeopardized the livelihoods of committed soldiers serving our country at home and abroad.”
And what is the Take Care blog, you may ask? A quick glance shows it to be a hive for the most overheated of Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferers. A section titled “Russian Interference” contains a subhead that reads, “[f]rom pro-Trump cyberattacks on the electoral process, to rumored financial ties to the Trump Organization, to questionable contacts with senior U.S. officials, Russia’s relationship with the Trump Administration is rife with uncertainty.” There’s that professional posturing once again. The word “uncertainty” is used here as a fig leaf to further the site’s lame assertion that it is merely an information clearinghouse on the potential dangers to the republic posed by a Trump presidency. “Take Care is devoted to insightful, accessible, and timely legal analysis of the President’s adherence to [his Constitutional] duty. We undertake this mission in direct response to recent assaults on the rule of law in America by President Donald J. Trump and his Administration,” the about section of the website reads.
A Salute to Fake News
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.
What is plain to see is the sloppy attempt at manipulation at play here, all with the financial backing of the Pentagon. Let’s review. The Defense Department funds a survey that “recruited 540 active duty service members” over nine months (from August 2017 to March 2018) and from there determined that two-thirds of the entire U.S. military support transgender soldiers. A leading co-author of this survey had previously bashed the president’s proposed transgender military ban in an op-ed published on a virulently anti-Trump website at the same time this survey was getting underway and admitted he went into the study armed with the full expectation that it would find “high levels of acceptance” for transgender people. Which it did.
And a respected military-beat news publication then proceeded to publish this on its face without examining the bizarre “journal” in which it was published or detailing the howling conflicts of interest involving one of the study’s principal authors.
Every now and then, the manipulation is clumsy and transparent. The American people get a peek at how the multi-leveled operation known as Fake News works. Unfortunately, they had to pay for this presentation with their own tax money.
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