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Posted on Aug 10, 2017 Print this Article

Trump’s Pro-Military Transgender Policy Sparks Media Meltdown

False Memes, Faux Facts, and Litigation to Force Capitulation to LGBT Demands

Sometimes, leadership happens while others are looking for excuses to do nothing.  So it was on July 26, when President Donald Trump launched three tweets calling for an end to radical transgender policies that President Barack Obama imposed on the military on his way out of office.

To state the obvious, tweets are not orders.  But almost immediately, freaked-out media created a false narrative, suggesting that military commanders were “pushing back” against Trump.  Did anyone really believe that within 24 hours, based on a presidential tweet, commanders would be sending transgender personnel home?  The meme is ridiculous.

Even if President Trump had announced his intent in a more formal setting – say, a State of the Union speech ˗˗ policy would not change overnight.  As Joint Chiefs Chairman General Joseph Dunford said in a brief statement, military officials will follow established protocols and act upon administrative orders. 

Nevertheless, most liberal media and some conservative pundits (who should know better) kept promoting the idea that military leaders were resisting the president if they did not discharge transgenders immediately.  Even the usually-sage columnist Charles Krauthammer imagined a “whiff of insubordination” when uniformed leaders supposedly told the Commander-in-Chief to “go jump in the lake.”

In truth, there is no evidence of mutiny against the Commander-in-Chief.  Except for a few officers who were promoted to high rank during the Obama years, (see below), President Trump’s call for action supports what most military people want him to do.

In a news release hailing President Trump’s call for action, CMR listed at least eight large groups of military people who stand to benefit if Trump fulfills his promise to eliminate political correctness in the military.  When asked about his steps to end transgender policies in the military during an August 10 news conference, President Trump confidently stated, “I think I’m doing the military a great favor.”

None of this matters to well-funded LGBT activists who rushed to file the first of what will likely be several lawsuits against President Trump and other Pentagon officials.  CMR will comment further as legal challenges develop, but there is reason for confidence that several Supreme Court precedents will be cited to keep the courts from running the armed forces.

Military Leaders to President: Please Hit the Brakes

In June, military chiefs of the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps initially asked for a two-year delay before full implementation of Obama orders to recruit transgenders, which were supposed to go into effect on July 1.  To “finesse” the issue, as the New York Times put it, a high-level Obama holdover whittled the requested delay down to only six months.

President Trump probably knows why three of the military service chiefs asked for two-year delays, but the Pentagon refused to disclose those reasons to Congress.  Perhaps the Commander-in-Chief decided to support the chiefs by getting the ball rolling in the right direction.

Push-back came from the New York Times, which reported, without direct attribution, a negative reaction from Secretary of Defense James Mattis.  Other reporters have tried to spin the story with selective editing. 

For example, in recent Senate testimony, Air Force General Paul Selva, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he wanted qualified persons to serve, but "Our decision to delay the accessions … was largely based on a disagreement on the science of how mental health care and hormone therapy for transgender individuals would help solve the medical issues that are associated with gender dysphoria." 

These concerns are at the center of the debate about the wisdom of retaining or recruiting persons with gender dysphoria, a psychological condition that detracts from personal readiness and deployability.  But AP reporter Robert Burns left the above comments out of his article, and claimed that General Selva had mentioned no opposition among service chiefs.

Even after CMR called attention to the more complete story reported in Military Times, the misleading AP story was not changed.  Military leaders’ concerns about biological science just don’t fit the transgender media meme.

Mutual Support Strengthens Vertical Cohesion

Military voters and their families strongly supported presidential candidate Donald Trump, who promised to end political correctness in the military.  According to a survey that Military Times and the Institute for Veterans and Military Families conducted late last year:

  • 57 percent of active-duty military personnel expressed a negative opinion of the decision to allowing transgender troops to serve openly;
  • More than half of that group said the policy change had a very negative effect on military morale; and
  • Only about 16 percent thought the change would boost troops’ morale. (The remaining 27 percent believed the policy change would have no effect.)

The 2016 Republican National Platform emphatically stated, “We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and . . . Military readiness should not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.”

It is not surprising that President Trump started the process of delivering on promises to strengthen our military.  Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) and a few others, however, complained that they were not consulted on the transgender policy change beforehand.

This is ironic, since President Obama began implementing his most controversial plans in 2015 and 2016, without congressional oversight or questions that members of Congress should have asked. Year after year, Chairman McCain and others in Congress failed to conduct or call for hearings on this important issue. 

PC Politicians in Uniform

Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant of the Coast Guard, must have received high marks in his mandatory transgender indoctrination classes.  On August 1, Adm. Zukunft announced in a speech that he would not “break faith” with thirteen proclaimed transgenders in the Coast Guard.  He also reached out to a transgender lieutenant who had been featured on the cover of the Washington Post

Admiral Zukunft’s grandstanding was inappropriate, but technically he has not violated orders that have not been issued yet.  The Commandant is on thin ice, however, if he veers into open criticism of the Commander-in-Chief.

Under the military’s unique code of justice, (UCMJ Article 88) contemptuous speech criticizing the President, the Vice President, and other high-level officials, can be a court-martial offense.  The military protects individual rights, but it must be governed by different rules.

We may yet hear from other “Obama generals” whose promotions to high rank were contingent upon support for the president’s military personnel experiments.  Many see no advantage in opposing social engineering policies that major media strongly support.

This makes it even more remarkable that uniformed and civilian leaders of three military services requested a two-year delay before persons suffering from gender dysphoria are invited to join the military.  The nation needs to know more about the costs and consequences of policies that ignore biological science and the complexities of mental health.

Next Step: Formally Revoke Obama-Era Policy Directives

In the coming weeks Defense Secretary James Mattis will get on the White House calendar and receive direction on what President Trump wants. Then he will instruct subordinates to review all Obama-era regulations and mandates that are not consistent with the president’s policies.

This action is necessary because President Obama wrongly ordered the military to assume the risks of retaining and recruiting a cohort of persons who are suffering from a psychological condition called gender dysphoria, which involves confusion about gender identity.

Until President Obama politicized gender dysphoria, it was one of several psychological conditions ˗˗ such as claustrophobia, anorexia, or sea-sickness ˗˗which make a person ineligible for military service.  The armed forces are not just another equal opportunity employer; there is no constitutional right to serve.

Transgender mandates were imposed administratively and can be revoked in the same way.  To facilitate the process, the Center for Military Readiness has identified fifteen problematic transgender mandates, and analyzed problems with each one in a 27-page CMR Special Report:

Department of Defense & Military Services Should Revoke Problematic
Transgender Policy Directives and Instructions

Executive Summary

The full array of Obama-era directives, instructions, and mandatory training programs enforcing PC groupthink defy science and common sense.  All insist that gender is “assigned” at birth and can be “re-assigned” with changes in appearance.

Under still-extant Obama rules, military commanders and medical personnel are being ordered to approve or provide hormone treatments or surgical operations that do not change human DNA or reduce psychological risks -- regardless of their own convictions or concerns about medical ethics.  Official denial of physical reality is supposed to happen after extended time off for “real-life experience” (RLE) living in one’s “preferred gender,” followed by a change in the transitioning person's bureaucratic "gender marker." 

RAND Report Racket

Conspicuously missing from these directives and handbooks are references to leading psychologists and psychiatrists who have explained the scientific futility of trying to change human biology and gender.  This is not surprising, since Obama-era officials wrote mandatory indoctrination documents in consultation with LGBT activist groups and contractors such as RAND Corporation, which frequently quote information from the same advocacy groups.

On several occasions over the years, CMR has exposed blatant bias in RAND polemics promoting LGBT law in the military and women in ground combat.  RAND did the same type of work for President Bill Clinton when he tried but failed to repeal long-standing regulations regarding gays in the military.

It is unethical for a pharmaceutical company to hire an “expert” outfit to endorse the safety of their new wonder-drug, without disclosure of who paid for the pre-determined report.  It is also something of a racket for a government contractor to keep making recommendations that cause problems, and then seek more government grants to “solve” the problems their own recommendations caused.

Many media observers have claimed there was an extensive, objective study of prospective transgender policies.  There was no such study – just an LGBT activist-influenced 2016 RAND report that delivered what the Obama Administration wanted and paid for.

Costs for Transgender Treatments Far Exceed LGBT/RAND PC Estimates

Most news reports on President Trump’s call for an end to Obama-era transgender policies include unchallenged estimates of transgender personnel in the military, speculations on how many would seek expensive sex-change surgeries and hormone treatments, and widely-disparate estimates of medical treatment costs. 

The most frequently-reported numbers come from RAND, a largely-civilian Defense Department contractor that often uses information from LGBT advocacy groups such as the Michael D. Palm Center, the academia-based Williams Institute, and the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.  Activist groups are entitled to their opinions, but their low-ball cost estimates of long-term medical expenses and consequences should not be deemed credible.

  • RAND’s speculations about the number of transgender persons who currently serve in the military range between 1,320 and 6,630 in the active component and between 830 and 4,160 in the Selected Reserve.
  • Meanwhile, The Hill reported that 250 troops came out as transgender since the 2016 policy change. 
  • In a 2016 report, RAND pegged similarly elastic transgender health costs at somewhere between $2.4 million to $8.4 million per year, which would total between $24 million and $84 million over ten years. Liberal and even conservative media keep quoting these questionable estimates as fact.
  • At the center of the LGBT perception management campaign is Palm Center director Aaron Belkin, who has suggested that costs of transgender surgeries would be $30,000 each – a ridiculously small estimate.
  • Belkin and RAND compare their numbers to overall Defense Department health care expenditures – a statistical sleight of hand to distract attention from the many more important things that misplaced funds could pay for.

In contrast, the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery posts surgical price lists showing the cost of male to female operations to be approximately $140,450 and $124,400 for female to male.

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), who led an almost-successful fight to end funding for transgender surgeries during the July 13 House debate on the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), challenged RAND’s methodology by calculating costs that the Defense Department contractor had minimized or left out.  

  • RAND claimed that only 5 percent of transgender troops would seek body-altering surgeries, but Congresswoman Hartzler cited the National Transgender Discrimination Survey in estimating that 30 percent of gender dysphoria sufferers would seek government-funded surgeries during gender transition. 

Mrs. Hartzler’s total estimates approach $1.3 billion over ten years which she set forth with comparisons to RAND data

This is a conservative estimate, since neither Congresswoman Hartzler’s nor RAND’s calculations include expensive hormone therapy costs for members or dependents, health care increases, surgical complications, possible gender transition reversals, or litigation when dependent gender-confused children’s lives are ruined by irreversible treatments and surgeries.

The Family Research Council also challenged RAND’s methodology, which was based on insurance premiums for private employers, not direct costs.

  • FRC factored in many costs ignored by RAND.  Expenses include counseling ($5,000), extended leave for “real-life-experience,” plus pre- and post-surgical lifelong hormone therapy (about $200/month), in the already overtaxed Military Health and Veterans Administration system. 
  • RAND acknowledged that male-to-female transition would result in 135 nondeployable days, and lost time for female-to-male transition would be 111 nondeployable days.  These losses are considerable, especially when transgender personnel sign up for the medical benefits but drop out after only four years.
  • Unlike RAND, FRC estimated monetary costs for the time lost due to gender-denying hormone and/or surgical treatments.  (This does not include lost time for administration and mandatory training of the entire force on an annual basis.)

FRC’s estimated total of $3.7 billion over ten years is approximate, but anything approaching that amount would rob military units of defense dollars needed for weapons systems, aircraft, maintenance, and training hours that improve mission readiness and combat lethality.

Human Costs and Incentives

Most cost estimates do not consider long-term costs of incentivizing gender-confused young people to sign up for lifelong cost-free medical treatments and surgeries after a waiting period of only 18 months.  The Department of Defense cannot ignore this effect, since free health care for transgenders surely would increase demand.

This NBC/CNN article provides insight into the high-cost desires of several civilians suffering from gender dysphoria.

The individual stories evoke empathy; it must be a lifelong nightmare to feel compelled to spend thousands of dollars to achieve what is called “passability” as a person of the opposite sex.  It does not follow, however, that the Department of Defense and military services should bear the burden of treating psychological conditions that detract from personal readiness and deployability.

Among other things, the article reports that a person named Jo Avelyn Grey will spend $70,000 to $80,000 before the end of his transition.  This includes $30 copays for genital electrolysis sessions 2 to 3 times a week for about a year prior to “gender reassignment” surgery that would cost even more.  (The RAND report lists hair removal as a part of the transition process.)

As Dr. Paul McHugh wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled Transgender Surgery Is Not the Solution, Johns Hopkins University Hospital discontinued sex-change surgeries after a ten-year study.  The review of previous patients’ experiences found that underlying psychological problems, including high risks of suicide, were not improved by gender denial surgery.

Still, with medical expenses this large, it is reasonable to expect that significant numbers of gender-confused individuals would have a strong incentive to join the military, especially since they would be non-deployable for long periods of time.

How would this cultural change and associated costs strengthen mission readiness and combat lethality?

This is the critical question that media organizations should be asking, instead of swallowing whole false assumptions and manufactured “facts” from activist groups and government contractors who are paid to produce reports promoting misplaced priorities.

Members of Congress should join President Trump and Congresswoman Hartzler in their efforts to spend defense dollars wisely.  Scarce funds should be used to strengthen America’s military, not for social experiments that detract from mission readiness and combat lethality. 

Posted on Aug 10, 2017 Print this Article