2018-JAN/MAR: Transgender Persons in Military:
Image by Maiconfz. Downloaded from Pixabay. CC0 Creative Commons
2018-JAN: Transgender persons start to enlist in the military in spite of the uncertainty:
Following court orders by federal judges in Baltimore and Washington, the Defense Department started to accept new transgender enlistees at the beginning of January.
Logan Downs, 23 is a transgender man from Oregon. He was born female and now identifies as male. He decided to proceeding with enlistment even though there is uncertainty whether he will be accepted. He said: "I'm not worried." 1
There have been two negative factors that have been raised in opposition to transgender recruits:
- The cost: A Rand Corporation study found that the total cost of healthcare for transgender service members will be a miniscule addition to the $50 billion Defense Department healthcare budget: $2.4 to 8.4 million or less than 0.02% of the total budget.
- The concern over unit cohesion/operational effectiveness: The same study found that in the 18 other countries who permitted transgender recruits, including Australia, Canada, Israel, the UK, etc., there was little or no detectable impact on effectiveness.
Nicolas Bade, 37, a transgender male enlistee from Chicago said:
"The people I know in the military have said, 'I don’t care what your gender identity is, as long as you can do your job'." 1
2018-MAR-23: President Trump's earlier ban on military transgender persons is modified:
The White House released a statement during the evening of MAR-23, saying:
"Today the President rescinded his previous memorandum on transgender service in the military in order to allow [implementaton of] Secretary Mattis' new policy developed through extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders including combat veterans.
The experts’ study set forth a policy to enhance our military’s readiness, lethality, and and effectiveness. On the advice of these experts, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Homeland Security have concluded that the accession or retention of individuals with a history of diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- those who may require substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery -- presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality.”
This new policy will enable the military to apply well-established mental and physical health standards -- including those regarding the use of medical drugs -- equally to all individuals who want to join and ... [serve] for the best military force the world has ever seen. The Secretary of Defense’s memorandum and accompanying report have been made public today. 2
This statement appears ambiguous. It could be interpreted as banning all of those transgender persons who might "require substantial medical treatment," but as allowing transgender persons to serve if they are not currently suffering from gender dysphoria. But it might also be interpreted as banning essentially all transgender persons from the military if they had suffered gender dysphoria at any time in their past.
The American Psychiatric Association defines gender dysphoria as:
"In adolescents and adults, gender dysphoria diagnosis involves a difference between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, coupled with significant distress or problems functioning. It lasts at least six months and is shown by at least two of the following:
- A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics.
- A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics.
- A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender.
- A strong desire to be of the other gender.
- A strong desire to be treated as the other gender.
- A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender. 3 [Emphasis not in the original text.]
Note that a person who currently identifies themselves as having a gender different from their biological sex does not necessarily suffer gender dysphoria, because they may now be comfortable with their gender identity. They may have received counseling, hormone treatments, support from family, friends, etc., and/or gender confirmation surgery.
According to a CNN video, President Trump tweeted three joined tweets. It seems to ban all transgender individuals, whether they currently suffer -- or have suffered in the past -- from gender dysphoria:
"After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victor and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [persons] in the military would entail. Thank you." 2
More court challenges are inevitable.
Also on MAR-23, Nanci Pelosi, leader of the Democratic Party in the U.S. House of Representatives, tweeted:
"No one with the strength & bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are. This hateful ban is purpose-built to humiliate our brave transgender members of the military who serve with honor & dignity." 4
Retired Lieutenant General Tom Spoehr, of the Heritage Foundation, believes that the Pentagon should be allowed to make exceptions for soldiers who are already-serving in the Military. He also said:
"The armed forces are not a petri dish for social experimentation, nor is military service a guaranteed right. Our military is the first line of defense for America’s own unique experiment in liberty."
According to the Los Angeles Times, the order will have "no immediate impact" because four federal district judges have issued injunctions in the recent past blocking implementation of a transgender ban.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had ruled:
"It must be remembered [that the transgender individuals who went to court to seek] to serve their nation with honor and dignity, volunteering to face extreme hardships, to endure lengthy deployments and separation from family and friends and to willingly make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives if necessary."
Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights described the new policy as:
"... exactly the discriminatory, categorical ban that four federal courts have already barred from going forward."
Matt Thorn, president of OutServe-SLDN, said:
"This policy is a thinly veiled and feeble attempt by the Trump-Pence administration to justify the unnecessary discrimination of qualified patriots in order to advance their own personal agendas and in defiance of the administration's top military leadership. This plan is riddled with blatant animus, bigotry, and ignorance but conveniently void of any foundational bases or facts."
Hearings resume on MAR-27 before the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Jennifer Levi, director of the transgender rights project at the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders group said that the new order:
"... categorically bans transgender people from service, with no legitimate basis. This policy deems [all] transgender people unfit for service. It's basically an absolute ban. We will continue to challenge this because there is no military justification for it. And I expect ultimately this will be resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court." 5
Previous articles in this series on transgender persons in the U.S. military:
Part 1: 2011/2012: Overview. Support. Current military policies. Care for veterans.
Part 2: 2016: Previous ends to discrimination by the military. Pentagon announces an end to discrimination against transgender members. Negative reactions.
Part 3: 2016: More negative reactions to the ending of discrimination. Positive reactions.
Part 4: 2016: President Trump's ban on transgender persons in the military.
Part 5: 2017: Trump bans transgender military service members via tweets. Federal court blocks the move.
Part 6: 2017-JUL/AUG: Impact on Trump's Ban of Transgender Military Service members.
Public opinion polls.
Part 7: 2017-AUG: Trump's restores Ban of
Military Transgender Persons. Lawsuits filed. Gen. Mattis responds.
Extra Cost of Transgender Members.
Part 8: 2017-OCT to DEC: Two
Court injuctions against Pres. Trump's Transgender ban.
Enlistees able to apply, in theory.
Part 10: 2018-APR to 2019-JAN: Medical groups criticize the ban.
Father's Day. Billboard battle
Part 11: Anti-Trump Light Show. Trump loses at District Court
level, asks to bypass Courts of Appeal and go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. High Court activates ban.
A helpful list:
The Toronto Star has a list of false claims made by President Trump. At the end of his first six months in office, the list totals 447 false claims. They average 2.4 per day. At this rate he will accumulate over 3,500 false claims by the end of his first term in office. Daniel Dale, writing for the Star, commented:
"... Trump has proven uniquely willing to lie, exaggerate and mislead. By all expert accounts, he is more frequently inaccurate than any of his predecessors." 6
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Chris Kenning, "Transgender U.S. military recruits enlist amid uncertainty," Reuters, 2018-JAN-14, at: https://www.reuters.com
- Carlos Garcia, "Trump issues major decision on transgender members in the military," The Blaze, 2018-MAR-23, at: https://www.theblaze.com/
- Ranna Parekh, "What Is Gender Dysphoria?," American Psychiatric Association, 2016-FEB, at: https://www.psychiatry.org/
- Nanci Pelosi, Twitter text, 2018-MAR-23, at: https://twitter.com/
- David S. Cloud
& David G. Savage "Trump order would ban most transgender troops from serving, setting stage for court battle," LA Times, 2018-MAR-24, at: http://www.latimes.com/
- Daniel Dale, "Donald Trump just had his most dishonest week as president: 7 days, 34 false claims," Toronto Star, 2017-JUL-27, at: https://www.thestar.com/
How you may have arrived here:
Copyright © 2017 & 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update : 2018-JUN-17, Father's Day
Author: B.A. Robinson