Stop Lying: The Trump Administration Has Not Banned Transgender Americans From Military Service

The administration has merely required that transgender individuals meet the same requirements as all other Americans who apply for military service. Cue the usual lies and hysteria.

LGBT activist organization Lambda Legal argued in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 10 in an ongoing effort to challenge President Trump’s “transgender military ban.”

The issue began in 2017 when President Trump tweeted a statement that the Human Rights Campaign says meant “thousands of transgender service members and countless more potential recruits found their worlds turned upside down.” The tweets indicated transgender individuals would be banned from serving in the armed forces, reversing an Obama administration policy. This spurred multiple lawsuits and ongoing controversy.

For example, Sarah McBride, a HRC spokesperson, said this “is part of a broader effort to push transgender people back into the shadows and out of public life. From the bipartisan chorus of members of Congress to leading medical associations to several federal courts, every passing day we see further proof that this president’s policy is animus-fueled, dangerous and unconstitutional.”

 

The Military Is Not a Social Justice Organization

The details are remarkable and staggering in complexity. The paper uses compassionate language and illustrates an underlying respect for transgender individuals and an appreciation of their unique struggles without compromising accuracy and honesty.

Mattis states firmly that “The purpose of the Armed Forces is to fight and win the nation’s wars.” So the determining factor in a person’s qualification for military service is whether that person can meet the standards of the armed services, which the paper distills as “qualified, effective and able-bodied.”

 

Why Transgenderism Has Disqualified People from Service

Historically, military standards did not allow transgender individuals who wished to serve as the opposite sex to do so. The military previously held that individuals with a history of psychosexual conditions such as voyeurism, exhibitionism, transsexualism, or transvestism were not permitted to join.

Mental health conditions, listed in the DoDI 6130.03 manual, have always been a barrier to joining the military, and with good reason. Service in the armed forces present a highly stressful and dangerous set of conditions that mental illness can directly interfere with. The standards also contain disqualifying conditions that include chest surgery, genital surgery or deformation, castration.

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What the Obama Administration Policy Did

On July 28, 2015 Carter sent out a memorandum stating service members would no longer be involuntarily separated due to gender identity or gender dysphoria. He created a working group tasked “to study the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly.” The working group was directed to “start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness.”

The review commissioned the RAND National Defense Research Institute to conduct a study to identify the health-care needs of transgender service members, associated costs, and health insurance options. The report estimated between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender service members were already serving and that transgender treatments would affect military health care costs only minimally.

 

The Trump Admin Decided to Review These Policies

On August 25, 2017, President Trump directed the secretaries of defense and homeland security to reinstate the original, long-standing policy that largely disqualified transgender individuals from joining the military. His memorandum stated this should be in place “until such time as a sufficient basis exists upon which to conclude that terminating the policy and practice” would not “hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unity cohesion, or tax military resources.”

Trump’s memorandum argued that further study was needed to address the negative consequences presented in the Carter Policy. He gave both secretaries authority to determine how to handle currently serving transgender individuals and did not dictate taking any action against them.

On September 14, 2017, Mattis organized a panel of experts to fully investigate the effects of transgender service members on military readiness, lethality, unit cohesion, and taxpayer expenditures. Here are several key factors determined in the extremely comprehensive examination.

  • Transgender individuals with gender dysphoria experience extremely high rates of mental health conditions and suicidal tendencies. While the general population faces a 4.9 percent suicidal attempt rate, transgender individuals face a 41 percent rate. Due to the well-documented stress and dangers presented in military life, war zones, and extreme environments, there is a genuine concern that suicidal behavior would be increased in those suffering from gender dysphoria.

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  • Service members with gender dysphoria are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than their peers are.
  • Service members with gender dysphoria are nine times more likely to have mental health concerns requiring medical intervention than the general military population does.
  • In the first year of cross-sex hormone treatment, patients must receive bloodwork reviews every 90 days. If the individual pursues reassignment surgery, which only 2 percent of transmen (women presenting as men) and 10 percent of transwomen (men presenting as women) pursue, the individual would require up to a year or longer for a full recovery. Upwards of 20 percent of transwomen who receive bottom surgery experience serious complications. This all would create obstacles to service members actually serving in their military capacities.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) studied more than 500 official sources to determine the effectiveness of gender reassignment surgery on positive health outcomes and found only 33 studies viable for review. Only six of those studies provided valuable information and all were considered limited by small sample sizes, a lack of validation, or subjectivity. CMS was unable to determine if reassignment surgery was “reasonable and necessary” for treating gender dysphoria, as there was simply not enough “quality evidence” to make a determination.

 

Transgender Soldiers Are Still Serving

In light of the extensive research from Mattis’s panel of experts, the Trump administration has put into place a series of new recommendations. This is what LGBT activists are decrying as discriminatory and fighting in federal court. The divide is between those wishing to join and those who are already service members.

 

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