5 Good Reasons Why Transgender Accommodations Aren’t Compatible With Military Realities

U.S. Marines silhouetted against the sunset on June 1, 2012.

By Ryan Anderson Published on July 26, 2017

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that he was reversing an Obama-era policy that opened the military to people who identify as transgender.

That policy, announced during the last year of President Barack Obama’s second term, was scheduled to go into effect earlier this month, but Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced a six-month delay in its implementation to review whether it was in fact prudent given the nature of the military and its mission.

The mission of our armed forces is winning wars and protecting the nation. So any personnel policy must prioritize military readiness and mission-critical purposes first.

Trump’s announcement that it would not be feasible to open the military to personnel who identify as transgender returns the military to the policy it had always observed, before the Obama administration’s 12th-hour, politically driven imposition of a transgender agenda.

As I explain in my forthcoming book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, the best biology, psychology and philosophy conclude that sex is a biological reality and that gender is the social expression of that reality.

The most helpful therapies for gender dysphoria focus not on achieving the impossible — changing bodies to conform to thoughts and feelings — but on helping people accept and even embrace the truth about their bodies and reality.

Unfortunately, 41 percent of people who identify as transgender will attempt suicide at some point in their lives, compared to 4.6 percent of the general population. And people who have had transition surgery are 19 times more likely than average to die by suicide.

People who identify as transgender suffer a host of mental health and social problems — including anxiety, depression and substance abuse — at higher rates than the general population. Biology isn’t bigotry, and we need a sober and honest assessment of the human costs of getting human nature wrong.

So there were well-justified concerns that Obama was using the military to advance the latest social justice culture warrior agenda item — seeking to mainstream transgender identities and promote controversial therapies for gender dysphoria.

Obama’s policy change ignored the reality that placing individuals who might be at increased risk for suicide or other psychological injury in the most stressful situation imaginable — the battlefield — is reckless.

But even people who disagree about the underlying transgender issues should acknowledge that there are practical concerns for the military when it comes to people who identify as transgender.

Wednesday’s announcement reflects good reasons why transgender accommodations are incompatible with military realities. Here are just a few of the considerations:

1. That the privacy of service members must not be infringed.

This means that no soldiers, including those who identify as transgender, should be allowed to use the sex-specific facility of the opposite sex. When it comes to barracks, bathroom, showers, etc., the privacy of all service members must be respected.

Given the nature of military living quarters, it is unclear where soldiers who identify as transgender could be housed.

2. That all service members remain combat-ready at all times.

But soldiers who have “transitioned” medically require regular hormone treatments and follow-up visits after sex-reassignment surgery. It is unclear how someone who has “transitioned” would be deployable.

3. That all service members be held to the same physical fitness standards, and that these standards be based on the reality of biological sex, not the subjective “gender identity.”

Men who identify as women should not be held to a lower standard than other men — they should be held to the standard for someone with their body that the military has determined is most effective for combat.

4. That scarce taxpayer monies not be expended on costly and controversial sex-reassignment therapies.

This is particularly the case as growing foreign threats are stretching our military’s resources, and as we struggle as a nation to provide basic health care to all. But it is unclear how soldiers who identify as transgender would pay for their treatments apart from including coverage in Tricare, the military health care program.

5. That the medical judgment, conscience rights and religious liberty of military doctors, chaplains, commanding officers and fellow service members be respected.

Unless and until military leaders are able to find a way to respect all of these provisions, there will remain good reasons why the military will be unable to accommodate people who identify as transgender.



Copyright 2017 The Daily Signal

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  • Gary

    All my life I have been told that the purpose of the US Military was to “protect America”. And for a long time, I believed that. Since I have been looking into things for myself, I found that the actual purpose of the US Military is to protect wealthy and empowered people, both American and foreign, and their property. That is why nobody in my family would ever join the US Military. We refuse to be pawns in rich men’s games. So, it really does not matter to us that those in the military engage in sexual perversion and other forms of insanity.

    • Ryan

      If you don’t care, then you should refrain from making any comments on subjects concerning anything about our military.

  • Dean Bruckner

    Good points, Ryan!

    A few Christians believe that the best way to treat the military is the same way they treat the culture: let it go to hell. No loss to them; they and their families are above lowering themselves to serve. And why not, given what John the Baptist told the soldiers:

    Some soldiers asked him, “And what shall we do?”
    And John replied, “You’re all going to hell anyway so I don’t care.”
    Luke 3:14, GARY version

  • Talkin_Truth

    It’s worth nothing that the Army Chief of Staff doesn’t agree with you.

    And I suspect he knows the military better than any of us here.

  • Josh Shapiro

    Hey Ryan, you and your new beard, er, I mean bride, finally have S-E-X yet?

    • Shaquille Harvey

      What has that got to do with anything?

      • Josh Shapiro

        I thought this was a free country, why shouldn’t I ask? I’m not asking for any intricate details, just whether or not they consummated their relationship?

        • Shaquille Harvey

          1. Not to make an inaccurate statement but I would state that this being asked over the internet and on a general website comment section rather than it been made in a particular country
          2. Not stopping you from asking anything just questioning what this has to do with the article’s topic !?
          3. From what I’ve seen and heard, though I could be wrong, I do believe he does have a wife.

    • Jeremy L

      LOL. I can’t find any reference to a wife. But if he has one, I can see him not being happy with her…or attracted to women at all. I usually think these people are just jerks, but perhaps “they hate themselves” has some truth to it as well.

      • Josh Shapiro

        No he has a wife whom he married earlier this year; her name is Anna Pfaff, and she’s authored similarly incendiary articles.

        • Jeremy L

          Found her. You’re right, she is just as horrible.

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