No Transgender Military

Another good decision on military matters today. The military's sole purpose is the defense of a space in the world for which America to be realized. Otherwise, all our rights are just ideas -- ideas in the mind of God, perhaps, but still ideas rather than actual rights.

That means that the military's mission has a kind of priority, which is why sometimes rights are curtailed for military necessity -- think of Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus as an example. I don't oppose dignity for transgender individuals, but the President is right about the massive disruption and expense they would entail in the military service. The military's contribution to transgender dignity is that it enables a society to exist in which they can be treated well, as other societies do not always do. That's a very significant contribution, and all that can reasonably be asked.

UPDATE: It wasn't that long ago that I posted on "rethinking gays in the military," opposition to which made one of these two arguments -- the cultural one. Transgenders are similar to gays in that there aren't very many of them, which means that the military may be able to absorb them with a similarly small degree of shock.

Gays in the military didn't hit at the gender fault line, though. It's already a real issue that women in the service have much lower physical standards to meet than men, and are thus promoted more easily insofar as fitness is taken into account in promotions (which it is). Allowing an underperforming man to slide into that easier-to-pass class is not going to go over well at all. You can imagine a Bradley Manning deciding to get himself promoted ahead of his fellow soldiers by transitioning to a Chelsea Manning. The kind of hard-charging combat soldiers you need to actually win wars will be undercut by that, and they'd notice.

So it's not just women-with-penises in the female showers. It's not just the introduction of sexuality into a professional environment characterized by very little privacy and austere conditions.

Uncited by the President, but something Uncle Jimbo is talking about this morning, is that there is also a potential issue with hormone treatments and combat effectiveness. I'm not aware of the research on this, but I'll take his word pending research that it's a concern.

UPDATE: The Duffel Blog is on the case.

UPDATE: A former trans-woman speaks out in favor of this policy.



Anonymous said...

"hormone treatments and combat effectiveness"

Oh, hell yes, it's a problem.

I only took hormonal birth control pills for a short time in between IUDs in my mid-thirties. I was a civilian in a comfortable location, working, with no great stress or money problems.

I did not like taking a pill a day at a specific time, so I switched back to the IUD. After I switched back, I realized I was also feeling a lot less emotional. It was only after I stopped that I realized I had been having mood swings, a new experience for me. I compared notes with a friend, and she had noticed the same thing for herself. We both decided that pills can make you crazy.

Those pills are supposed to match our systems. Only God knows what a bunch of added testosterone would do to me! I do for a fact know that too much of the right hormones is bad for me.

People do not take the mind-altering quality of sex hormones seriously, nor does anybody know what the real, day-to-day levels (much less hour-to-hour levels) of these drugs are supposed to be. The emotional side effects of birth control by women and steroid use by athletes are well known.

Hormone treatments will undoubtedly affect an individual's combat effectiveness, because they affect how a person thinks and feels. I became brittle under minor stress. And that is just the individual: I hate to think of the impact on the unit's combat effectiveness. Aside from the emotional and attendant social effects there are problems of logistics and maintenance and supervision of the treatments.


Texan99 said...

I can't remember where I read this: The President added that he fully supported the right of transgender Americans to believe they are members of the military.