(UPDATES) Transgender Service in the Military, from ‘The Horses’ Mouths’
In a persuasive editorial over the weekend, the New York Times lists the facts and “the growing body of research and expert opinion [supporting] the only fair and just solution: Repudiating Mr. Trump’s cruel decision and giving transgender people the same right to serve their country in a military uniform as any other citizens.”
In addition to the testimony to Congress by the chiefs of the Military Services (below), refutations by half-a-dozen former United States surgeons general, a 2016 RAND study and a new study by the Palm Center, the Times offers one additional “compelling statistic” rebutting the various “flawed” claims about transgender troops serving in the military:
Of the 994 service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2016-2017, 393 were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and only one was unable to complete the deployment because of mental health reasons.
Please watch below the exchange between Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y, and Air Force Secretary Heather A. Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein on the issue of transgender persons serving in the military, between minutes 05:55 and 10:03 during the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, April 24, 2018.
I am sure most of us have heard the expression, “from the horse’s mouth.”
Well, here is something from the “four horses’ mouths” on an issue that many thought our nation was making progress on, till there was Trump.
A month ago, it took this author more than 2,200 words to set the stage for and describe Trump’s capriciousness and bad faith on the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons in the military.
While the author will attempt to keep this update (relatively) short, a brief summary is appropriate:
Notwithstanding that the sky did not fall when DADT was repealed, or when subsequent legislation and Department of Defense policies were passed improving access to and conditions and rights for LGBT members of the military, or when a new policy under President Obama permitted transgender people already in uniform to begin serving openly — notwithstanding all this, on a July morning last year…
…the man who during his presidential campaign courted the LGBT community and promised to “fight” for them, rolled out of bed and tweeted “an unequivocal ban on transgender people serving in the military,” citing – among other – the “tremendous medical costs …that transgenders in the military would entail.”
A few months later, on a Friday night “under cover of darkness, Trump followed through on his earlier threats and issued orders to ban transgender troops who require surgery or significant medical treatment from serving in the military except in select cases.”
Legislators, political groups, the media, LGBT advocates and other rights groups and former military and Defense officials swiftly condemned and ridiculed the decision and its rationale on the rights and military preparedness issues and on the “cost excuse,” citing the facts that the military annually spends 10 times the cost of transition-related medical care for active duty transgender servicemembers on erectile dysfunction medicines and, on Viagra alone, $41.6 million annually.
Senator John McCain, the war hero whom Trump ridiculed for having been captured during the Vietnam War, criticized Trump for making major policy announcements via Twitter and added, “Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military — regardless of their gender identity.”
Today, we can add the voices of four more people who should know.
The Military Times reports that Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein told Congress Tuesday “he was not aware of any negative effects from transgender personnel serving, joining all three other service chiefs in a rare public split with President Donald Trump over the issue.”
Referring to the three other Chiefs of Staff appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee for their budget hearings, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said, “In the last two weeks Gen. [Mark] Milley, Gen. [Robert] Neller, and Adm. [John] Richardson have told me that they have seen zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale as a result of open transgender service in their respective service branches.”
There you have it from the horses’ mouths — in only 514 words.