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The battle to remove and prevent transgender people from serving in the military was reinforced recently as a White House memorandum was filed in a Seattle, WA court late Friday. The memorandum states that:
“transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria –individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery –are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
The memorandum is a result of an extensive study from Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis who formed an expert panel to study the effects of transgender folk in the military. The panel included senior uniformed and civilian Defense Department and U.S. Coast Guard leaders and combat veterans. The goal was to get the professional opinion of the panel regarding their service in the military and how it would “enhance the readiness, lethality, and effectiveness of our military.”
The panel conducted interviews with transgender service members, military medical professionals, commanders of transgender service members, and civilian professionals with expertise in treating those with gender dysphoria.
“Unlike previous reviews on military service by transgender individuals, the Panel’s analysis was informed by the Department’s own data obtained since the new policy began to take effect last year,” stated the report.
Mattis’s report to President Donald Trump advised against transgender people in the military, except for specific circumstances:
Based on the work of the Panel and the Department’s best military judgment, the Department of Defense concludes that there are substantial risks associated with allowing the accession and retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and require, or have already undertaken, a course of treatment to change their gender. Furthermore, the Department also finds that exempting such persons from well-established mental health, physical health, and sex-based standards, which apply to all Service members, including transgender Servicemembers without gender dysphoria, could undermine readiness, disrupt unit cohesion, and impose an unreasonable burden on the military that is not conducive to military effectiveness and lethality.
The report states that transgender people with gender dysphoria should not be allowed into the military except for the following exceptions:
- if they have been stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession;
- Service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria after entering into service may be retained if they do not require a change of gender and remain deployable within applicable retention standards; and
- currently serving Service members who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria since the previous administration’s policy took effect and prior to the effective date of this new policy, may continue to serve in their preferred gender and receive medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria.
- Transgender persons who require or have undergone gender transition are disqualified from military service.
- Transgender persons without a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria, who are otherwise qualified for service, may serve, like all other Service members, in their biological sex.
Opponents are less than happy and claim this is just another Trump tactic at discrimination. “There is simply no way to spin it, the Trump-Pence Administration is going all in on its discriminatory, unconstitutional and despicable ban on transgender troops,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
However, if there is any discrimination it is against non-transgender recruits. Former Secretary of State Ash Carter’s directive to allow transgender people into the military grossly infringed on the other service members’ rights as well as weakened the military as a cohesive unit. For example, under the current Carter policy, transgender candidates wishing to join the military who are in post-gender transition and receiving cross-sex hormone therapy can gain access without a waiver. On the other hand, a person taking hormones for hypothyroidism is “disqualified from military service without a waiver.”
There are three areas in which applicants for the military are judged to see if they meet the strict requirements needed to be a part of our nation’s military force: physical, mental and sex-based standards. The Department of Defense’s report outlined these needs in detail and said:
By its very nature, military service requires sacrifice. The men and women who serve voluntarily accept limitations on their personal liberties – freedom of speech, political activity, freedom of movement -in order to provide the military lethality and readiness necessary to ensure American citizens enjoy their personal freedoms to the fullest extent. Further, personal characteristics, including age, mental acuity, and physical fitness – among others matter to field a lethal and ready force.
Soldiers need to be ready at all times to be deployed to dangerous situations and war zones, even during times of peace. Those undergoing gender reassignment surgery are not ready for deployment. The recovery can take up to a year depending on how many and which kinds of surgery are needed. Hormone therapy is a lifetime commitment and may take quite a while to get used to, not to mention the lifestyle changes needed to accommodate the changes and the mental toll through such a trying time.
Transgenderism in itself is not considered a mental illness, but gender dysphoria is another story. The Defense report states that members with gender dysphoria are “eight times more likely to attempt suicide than Service members as a whole (12% versus 1.5%).” They are also “nine times more likely to have mental health encounters,” 28.1 encounters per member verses 2.7.” From October 1, 2015, to October 3, 2017, the 994 active duty Service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria accounted for 30,000 mental health visits.”
In the military, male and female living areas are separate. In physical training, the requirements and standards are judged separately because it is a biological fact that male and female bodies have different endurance, tolerance and strength abilities. However, Carter’s policy allows for biological males identifying as females to “live” as a female. This means they share the same bathrooms, living and dressing areas, and their physical tests are judged on the female scale.
This causes dissension within the ranks because the man identifying as a female will usually score much higher than his co-female soldiers during physical challenges. The Defense report clarifies:
Because these sex-based standards are based on legitimate biological differences between males and females, it follows that a person’s physical biology should dictate which standards apply. Standards designed for biological males logically apply to biological males, not biological females, and vice versa.
This concern may seem trivial to those unfamiliar with military culture. But vigorous competition, especially physical competition, is central to the military life and is indispensable to the training and preparation of warriors… Especially in combat units and in training, including the Service academies, ROTC, and other commissioning sources, Service members are graded and judged in significant measure based upon their physical aptitude, which is only fitting given that combat remains a physical endeavor.
Liberals and LGBTQ activists need to stop getting offended at every little thing and realize this isn’t about discrimination – it’s about survival and the strength of our military. Those with gender dysphoria are not the only group that isn’t allowed (or perhaps won’t be allowed) into the military – asthmatics, those with an anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, flat feet and so on are not accepted either. Who is to say they do not want to serve their country just as desperately? The difference is, they realize they would be a liability instead of an asset and look for other ways to do their patriotic duty.