Making good on his July announcement, President Donald Trump has formally directed the U.S. military to reinstitute the longstanding ban on transsexuals serving in the armed forces, though the new policy stops short of removing currently serving transsexuals.
The door to military service was opened to the gender-confused by former President Barack Obama toward the end of his second term in office. The policy was under review but scheduled to go into effect July 1, 2017 and then extended to January 1, 2018. President Trump called a halt to that, first in an announcement made on Twitter and now in this formal directive.
In his formal directive made as Commander in Chief, President Trump said, “In my judgment, the previous Administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the Department’s longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources, and there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year’s policy change would not have those negative effects.”
The directive ended use of federal funds for “sex reassignment surgical procedures for military personnel” but left open treatment for currently serving personnel who may have begun sex change procedures.
Also left open was the disposition of those in the military who had already announced their gender-confusion. It will surprise many that enlisted personnel had already been required to call male officers “ma’am” if the male officers think they are women. The Presidential Directive allowed for the Secretary of Defense to study the issue of what to do with existing transsexuals. Secretary of Defense James Mattis has announced such a study.
Response of the left to the new Trump policy was swift and negative. Two lawsuits were announced almost immediately. An NBC producer Tweeted falsely that Trump had banned any kind of medical treatment for transsexuals in the military, presumably even banning them from getting an aspirin for a headache.
Among the key issues going into the decision was the question of deployment. A member of the armed services who cannot deploy for a significant amount of time is usually discharged from the service. According to the Rand Corporation, a transsexual undergoing surgery to amputate breasts or penises would not be deployable up to four months. Moreover, most transsexuals require a lifetime provision of hormones to maintain at least a semblance of being the opposite sex. Many of these drugs require refrigeration, something not available in all deployments.
Though not addressed in the presidential directive, critics of the Obama policy took issue with forcing service personnel to go along with something they considered to be a lie, such as the idea that someone can be born into the wrong body. They raised questions about what kind of harm is done to those who are forced to go along with something they believe to be false. Experts point out that the premise, which undergirds the Obama-era policy, is not backed up by science.
An Air Force General was asked recently what would happen if a naked biological male enters the shower-room with a biological female who then covers up and turns away. Could the biological female be brought up on charges for her modesty? The General said, “I don’t know.”
Austin Ruse writes for the Center for Family and Human Rights.