[CONTENT WARNING: Transphobia, TERFs]
Alas, we hit another depressing milestone a few days ago: “A new Pentagon policy that effectively bans transgender people from joining the US military and serving in their preferred gender has come into effect.” If you’re wondering what happened to all those court cases, they’re still ongoing; lower courts had issued injunctions preventing the Pentagon from putting the policy into place until the legality was settled, the Department of Justice appealed those injunctions, lost, and kept appealing right to the Supreme Court. The DoJ wanted the Supremes to short-circuit judicial process and immediately take over the case, which they sensibly refused, but the conservative judges voted to stay the injunction. The Pentagon was thus free to effectively ban transgender soldiers while the courts figured out if they legally could.
Yeah, I don’t understand that last bit either.
The ban has revealed two different camps on the issue. The American Medical Association has repeatedly said transgender soldiers should be allowed to serve, but they’re merely the medical experts. What about people with direct military experience? Let’s see what a Republican with a record of military service had to say at a hearing on the ban.
As the former Secretary of Defense Mattis made clear, it’s a bedrock principle of the Department of Defense that any eligible individual that can meet the high standards for military service without special accommodations should be permitted to serve. In other words, the focus should remain an individual’s capabilities, rather than establishing blanket policies for certain groups. In reading through the written statements of our first panel of currently serving transgender servicemembers, and also my meeting earlier, it is clear you have all earned the respect and support of your commands, you’ve achieved much, and you continue to serve honorably. One common thing throughout all of your statements and our meeting earlier is that you all met, meet, or exceed the standards for ascension and retention in the military, and that you did not ask for, nor would you have wanted, reduced standards or special treatment. The transgender service policy must, like the medical succession standards for all recruits, must include all individualized assessment of the great medical and behavioral health to determine whether they are fit for service. It is when we put in place categorical exceptions for certain groups that we undermine our military’s readiness.
Surprise! It seems that most US politicians think this new policy will harm the military, as well as transgender soldiers, to the point of introducing bipartisan legislation to block it. But what about the generals within the military? Surely they have more at stake in this fight.
Senator Gillibrand: Do you agree that our thousands of openly-serving transgender men and women have served their country with honor and valor?
General Dunford: I do, Senator. I would just probably say that I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve.
Senator Gillibrand: Thank you. If reappointed, can you promise currently-serving transgender individuals who have followed Department policy and meet every requirement, as you’ve just said, asked of them, that they will not be separated from the armed services based solely on their gender identity?
General Dunford: Senator, I can promise that that will be my advice. What I’ve just articulated is the advice I’ve provided in private and I’ve just provided in public.
At least one currently-serving general thinks transgender soldiers can be effective. Forty-one former generals and admirals agree. It’s telling that nobody within the military saw the ban coming, because to them the issue had already been settled.
- Using private health insurance claims data to estimate the cost of extending gender transition–related health care coverage to transgender personnel indicated that active-component health care costs would increase by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, representing a 0.04- to 0.13-percent increase in active-component health care expenditures.
- The limited research on the effects of foreign military policies indicates little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness. Commanders noted that the policies had benefits for all service members by creating a more inclusive and diverse force.
- Policy changes to open more roles to women and to allow gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly in the U.S. military have similarly had no significant effect on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.
Those bullet points were taken from a 2016 RAND study on the impact of transgender soldiers. It was commissioned by the Department of Defense itself, well before Trump’s Twitter rant, and once completed the military was debriefed on it. The military policy that transgender servicemembers could be fit to serve was based on the best evidence available.
A year of study by a group of experts can be counter-balanced by ten minutes of thought by a single person, it seems. Which brings us to TERFs, at long last; why do these “feminists” side with Trump and other anti-feminists on this one? Let’s have a peek…
The US military has a whole list of health conditions that disqualify people from serving. Trans people are not so special that they should get a pass if they have had SRS (which requires hormones and dilation for males) or are taking hormones even if they don’t plan on having SRS.
There is a huge list of medical conditions that disqualify you from military service (…). If you’re dependent on medications and medical care, it makes sending you into battle pretty damned difficult.
A combat zone is not an office or a store or a factory. You can’t be in the military if you’re dependent on insulin; why should you be in the military if you’re dependent on other synthetic hormones?
They think transgender soldiers are demanding special treatment and cannot be military-ready. This contradicts the current existence of transgender service members, the stance of military leaders, and the military’s own research, but reality doesn’t seem to matter much to TERFs. They just repeatedly assert they’re right and pretend everyone agrees with them.