Trump Signs Memo Implementing Ban On Transgender People Enlisting In The Military
President Trump has signed a memo implementing his new policy on transgender people serving in the armed forces.
A senior White House official told reporters that no transgender individuals will be allowed to join the armed services unless and until the secretary of defense and secretary of homeland security recommend otherwise.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps are part of the Department of Defense. The Coast Guard, also covered by the new policy, is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
The memo halts use of all Defense and Homeland Security resources for sex change surgery for those now serving. The only exception is for transgender service members already in treatment. This will become effective March 23, 2018, to give time for officials to develop an implementation policy.
The change in policy that would have allowed transgender people to join the military had been announced by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter but never implemented, unlike the policy change that allowed current transgender military personnel to serve openly.
Note that Trump is not actually changing any policy; he's extending a policy that had already existed since time immemorial against transgender people in the military; a policy throughout the Obama days, as Obama set the policy to end conveniently after he left office, leaving his successor, whoever he or she was, to deal with the consequences. Trump's order is the essence of conservatism; make no change until you are sure that the change is an improvement.
transgenders in the military, I am a little conflicted. Transgenders are a tiny proportion of the American public, estimated to be around 0.3%
, not the 10% one would expect based on their current representation among TV characters. The US has somewhere around 1.34 million active service personnel, so assuming transgenders were equally represented currently, some 4,000 current members of the military would be transgender. However, it seems highly unlikely that transgender would be equally represented. First, some significant number of them are female transitioning to male. Women are striking underrepresented in the military, some 14.5%
of active personnel, so they are likely from the start to be underrepresented. And I would guess that males transitioning to women are far less likely to find the military a likely career. (Ru Paul, anyone?).
So let's arbitrarily cut that to 2,000 transgenders in the active military currently, just for argument's sake. That's just a tiny fraction fraction of the active personnel, so irregardless of their behavior, I'm sure transgenders constitute a vanishingly small fraction of the military's behavior problems.
I quite certain that among the 2,000 or so transgenders there are a fair number of good, very good, and even excellent soldiers, but I would venture to guess, that as a class, they are more trouble than not. For one, transgenders tend have higher rates of mentally illness, with more drug use. suicide attempts and suicides than their counterparts
. Second, the military had been preparing to treat them all in the way they wish, which is to say hormone treatments and surgery to "correct" the body to correspond to what their conscious brain thinks they should be. This can be quite expensive, and having the military foot the the bill could be quite attractive to people who would otherwise avoid a military engagement.
I have a modest proposal
. Let's locate the 2,000 or so transgenders, and perform a test of whether, as a group, they can be valuable assets to the US military. 2,000 is about the right number for a brigade
. Take the 2,000 transgenders currently on active duty, and assign them to the "T" brigade. If the "T" brigade officers choose to spend their resources on sexual reassignment surgery and not on, say combat training, so be it. We assume, for argument's sake again, that among the 2,000 will be officers of sufficient rank to command them. Give them all the resources that a brigade would have, allow their officers to structure and discipline the troops as they see fit (whips and chains?) and prepare them for combat. If the "T" brigade officers choose to spend their resources on sexual reassignment surgery and not on, say combat training, so be it. Then, at the very next opportunity send them in to a combat role and see how they perform. At the very bottom, the job of the military is to kill people and break things on our behalf.
If they have a problem serving in combat, or a problem working with other transgenders on the mission, maybe we should reconsider. If they perform well in that role, then, all is well.