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Secretary of Defense Stumbles into Transgender Legal Morass

July 6, 2016
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Carter Takes LGBT Agenda to Extremes

On June 30, just before the end of "LGBT Equality Month,” Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced that transgender individuals may serve openly in the military.  The news conference transcript reveals that Secretary Carter was oblivious to the full impact of what he had just announced.

A reporter asked whether the Defense Department would add “gender identity” or “transgender status” to Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) regulations that ban discrimination based on race, creed, color, gender, or national origin.  At first Carter said, “I don’t know the specific answer to that.”  After prompting, he agreed that it would “make sense” to recognize transgenderism as a special non-discrimination class.

Secretary Carter set this in motion a year ago, in June 2015, when he announced that “sexual orientation” would be added to Military Equal Opportunity non-discrimination categories.  That action disregarded recommendations of the 2010 Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG), an advisory panel co-chaired by then-Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army General Carter Ham.

The CRWG report warned it would be unwise to add sexual orientation to categories eligible for “various diversity programs, tracking initiatives, and complaint resolution processes under the Military Equal Opportunity Program.”  The report added, “We believe that doing so could produce a sense, rightly or wrongly, that gay men and lesbians are being elevated to a ‘protected class’ and will receive special treatment.”  (CRWG) Report, Nov. 30, 2010, pp. 13-14 and p. 71)  The “special treatment” that the Working Group predicted will have consequences far beyond what Secretary Carter understands.

Special Interest Demands for Medical Care

The Transgender Service Member Policy Implementation Fact Sheet accompanying Secretary Carter’s announcement states, “The Military Health System will be required to provide transgender Service members with all medically-necessary care related to gender transition.”

The plan mentions minimal restrictions on new recruits whose doctors must certify that they are “stable in their preferred gender for at least 18 months.”  After 180 days in uniform, however, recruits will have access to “medically necessary” transgender health care.

According to retired Rear Admiral Hugh Scott, an expert in military medicine, there are no objective diagnostic tests for transgenderism, also called “gender dysphoria.”  It is a psychological condition that cannot be verified through lab results, a brain scan, or DNA analysis.

Dr. Joseph Berger, certified as a specialist in Psychiatry by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, has stated that from a medical and scientific perspective, there is no such thing as a "transgendered" person.  Terms such as “gender expression” and “gender identity" are more an emotional appeal than a statement of scientific fact.

Under the new policy, Pentagon officials won’t have any objective method to assess persons claiming to be transsexuals ˗ “stable” or otherwise.  Compliant officials will send individuals with serious psychological problems to field commanders, who will have to deal with complicated, still-unresolved issues that will distract attention from military readiness.

Medical Ethics in Conflict with the P.C. Police

A new report by the RAND corporation, a Department of Defense contractor hired to legitimize Secretary Carter’s announcement, includes a list of medical terms describing transgender surgical amputations or augmentations of male/female body parts.  The report also repeats LGBT activist claims that these procedures are no different from cancer-related mastectomies and reconstructive surgeries for soldiers suffering genital injuries in combat.  (RAND, Assessing the Implications of Allowing Transgender Personnel to Serve Openly, 2016, p. 8)

These comparisons are absurd, since operations on healthy organs are not the same as medical procedures to cure disease or repair combat injuries ˗˗ especially when surgery does not relieve psychological problems and may make them worse.

Consider the impact of the new mandate on military doctors and nurses.  The Transgender Implementation Fact Sheet states,“Any discrimination against a Service member based on their gender identity is sex discrimination [that] may be addressed through the Department’s equal opportunity [MEO] channels.”

This means that medical professionals who will not participate in controversial transgender therapy or surgeries, on ethical grounds, could find themselves out of a job.

P.C. Police are sure to target physicians like Dr. Paul McHugh, a former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the author of a Wall Street Journal article titled Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution.

  • In the 1960s, Johns Hopkins University pioneered “sex-reassignment” surgery for persons who did not identify with their biological sex.  The hospital discontinued the practice when follow-up studies in the 1970s found that operations on healthy tissue did not improve psycho-social adjustments.  Medical ethics forbid surgery that will not help.
  • In Sweden, a 30-year study found that within ten years of transgender surgery, patients experienced increased mental difficulties and 20-times higher suicide mortality rates.
  • Last April, the National Endocrine Society reported that among transgendered military vets studied at a single veterans’ hospital, 90% had at least one mental health diagnosis, and nearly 50% had been hospitalized after a suicidal attempt or suicidal thoughts.

As Dr. McHugh explained, the transgendered suffer from a “disordered assumption” about their own maleness or femaleness.  Similar disordered assumptions are present in persons suffering from anorexia nervosa or bulimia.  Patients starve their bodies due to imagined perceptions of overweight.

It must be difficult to go through life being confused about one’s sexual identify.  Family support and compassionate psychological treatment are in order, but there is no good reason for the military to normalize psychopathology as normal behavior for military service.

Taking Political Correctness to Extremes

Labor unions are not permitted in American armed forces, but “LGBT Equality Month” events in June, which the next administration should abolish, will continue to serve as lobbying festivals for the LGBT Left – activist groups that never will be satisfied.

Wide-ranging RAND report speculations on the numbers of transgenders who might seek medical treatment for their condition are based on LGBT sources that reflect ideology and self-interest, not reliable facts.  Some costs of indulging ideology, which the “experts” don’t even mention, are beyond calculation.

Regulations imposed in response to LGBT demands for “protected” status will invite litigation from groups like the Lambda Legal and Transgender Law CenterThe Hill reports that this group already is demanding expensive benefits for veterans seeking transgender surgeries.

In the New Gender Order, every person in uniform will have to attend planned sensitivity training programs at all military installations, but indoctrination won’t end there.  Military Times has reported that Defense Department officials, who run the largest school system in the world, are reviewing elementary school curriculum materials to ensure acceptance of persons claiming to be transgender.

Courses at all levels will teach ideology and deny biological realities.  The fact remains that cross-dressing clothing, hair styles, and even radical body alterations do not change gender characteristics that are identified at birth, not “assigned.”

Privacy and Political Correctness

The Implementation Fact Sheet states that transgenders who meet military standards “will use berthing, bathroom, and shower facilities associated with their gender.”  Women, girls, and boys in Defense Department schools have had a reasonable expectation of privacy in showers and other gender-separate facilities.  With a stroke of his pen, Secretary Carter has declared those expectations obsolete.

Concerns center not on the few who are psychologically troubled, but on others who would take advantage of privacy-destroying rules, putting everyone at greater risk.  Given special MEO status for sexual minorities, men or women who express concerns about their own privacy or that of their children in Defense Department schools will be accused of “sex discrimination,” a career-ending offense.

Before long, biological men will be eligible to serve on women’s athletic teams consistent with their gender identification, and speech restrictions will mandate politically-correct pronouns and references that deny DNA.

These policies could force out of the military personnel who question delusions that are now official policy.  None of this will improve readiness, discipline, or morale in America’s over-stressed All-Volunteer Force.

Predictions Proved Accurate

In promoting the new, unilaterally imposed transgender policy, Pentagon officials and LGBT activists keep insisting that all has gone smoothly since repeal of the 1993 law that is usually called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  These claims reflect satisfaction among LGBT personnel – a small minority with nothing to complain about.

The institution as a whole, however, has been negatively affected by a track record of broken promises that have proven repeal opponents right.  At least five serious consequences have played out as predicted since the onset of LGBT law in 2011.  For example:

  1. The Obama administration promised and Congress believed that same-sex couples would not marry on military bases or receive family benefits.  Within weeks the administration reversed its legal position, and extended all benefits to same-same couples by 2013.
  2. Despite previous denials, LGBT activists relentlessly challenge rights of religious liberty for military chaplains and people of faith.  According to the Liberty Institute, several high-profile punishments for military chaplains offering private counseling sessions that reflect religious beliefs have caused many Christians to avoid or leave the military.
  3. Despite constant promises that “leadership” and “education” would reduce sexual misconduct, assaults against men as well as women have skyrocketed.  According to annual reports of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office (SAPRO), male-on-male sexual assaults have steadily increased from less than 10% in 2010 to 12% in 2013, 17% in 2014, and 19% in 2015.  (FY 2015 SAPRO Report, Appendix B: Statistical Data on Sexual Assault, p. 9)
  4. As stated above, “LGBT Pride” celebrations have led to previously-denied designation of sexual minorities as a “protected class” under Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) non-discrimination mandates.
  5. The Pentagon’s 2010 Comprehensive Working Group asured Congress that repeal of the 1993 law would have “no effect”on transgender policies.  Secretary Carter’s June 30 announcement, enforcing all aspects of LGBT law, proved that claim to be wrong

    Recruiting and retention problems also were predicted, but these problems have been delayed or masked by the poor economy and sequestration-related drawdowns.  Both could be affected, however, when individuals who are psychologically troubled and at high risk of suicide are treated as a protected class.  This will elevate tensions and divide the troops, not unite them.

Recruiting and retention problems also were predicted, but these problems have been delayed or masked by the poor economy and sequestration-related drawdowns.  Indications are, however, that forcing military people to treat psychologically troubled individuals as a protected class will elevate tensions and divide the troops, not unite them.

Secretary Carter made the ridiculous claim that the greatest military in the world cannot succeed without transgendered personnel.  On the contrary, full implementation of LGBT law will distract attention from what must be done to strengthen our military and its readiness to defend the country.

In the next presidential election, social engineering should be debated as a national defense and security issue.  A new administration will have the power to review and reverse the consequences of politically-correctness in our military, and Inauguration Day cannot come soon enough.

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The Center for Military Readiness, founded in 1993, is an independent, non-partisan educational organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  More information is available on the CMR website, www.cmrlink.org.  To support CMR with a tax-deductible contribution, click here.  You can also support CMR by visiting, liking, and sharing the CMR Facebook page.


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