President Donald Trump and his administration have received scathing criticism for his transgender military ban. However, a closer look shows the decision seems rational and wise, not impulsive or discriminatory. If anything, an examination of the regulations shows they will help promote the military’s primary goal: national security.
A few weeks ago, the administration released a statement that described the new policy. It said, in part, “Among other things, the policies set forth by the Secretary of Defense state that transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria—individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery—are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances.”
Immediately, LGBTQ individuals and groups were outraged and said the ban would affect nearly 13,000 people currently serving. The mainstream media immediately began profiling transgender members who would be adversely affected—detailing how it would affect their hopes, dreams, or careers—with very little discussion about what the ban describes, why it was put in place, and what affect the issue would have on the military as a whole.
The Baltimore Sun interviewed Navy Petty Officer First Class Alice Ashton about the ban. Ashton said, “I mourn each person who is not able to be themselves, who is not able to transition or who loses their job because of who they are.”
On ABC’s “The View,” the co-hosts interviewed two transgender members of the military who also expressed disappointment. Other news organizations published similar personal takes.
Several National Guards—in Nevada, Washington, Oregon, California, and New Mexico—have decided they will defy the new policy and keep transgender military personnel employed.
Discriminatory by Nature
It’s worthwhile to step back and analyze the policy within the parameters of national security, which is the military’s foremost goal. I spoke with several current and former members of the military, who all offered a similar perspective on background.
Serving in the military is not a right. The military is exclusive—indeed, discriminatory—by nature. It always has been, and it always will be. This segregated nature is what has helped our nation’s military become one of the top fighting forces in the world—the force that ended World War II with our allies; the force that killed Osama bin Laden; the force that keeps threats at bay while the rest of us sleep safe.
The military has a long-held policy that members must meet strict physical and psychological requirements of excellence. If you have poor eyesight, are out of shape, or have a myriad of medical issues, you will be unable to even join the military, let alone stay in the military or enjoy any health care provided by it.
Military officials dictate such rules not because they’re bigots, but so they can create the best possible scenario for the best possible recruits to serve in the best possible military on the planet.
Here are just a small sampling of ailments that can prevent a person from joining the military (note how minor some seem): an active ulcer of the stomach; gastrointestinal bypass or stomach stapling for control of obesity; severe hearing loss; diabetes mellitus; adrenal dysfunction; limited motion of the shoulders, elbows, hands, and so on.
Should any individual in the military suffer from these issues, it not only puts that person at risk while he or she is serving, but frankly—and more importantly—it puts at risk the entire unit. This is key because, as any military officer will tell you, a unit is only as good as its weakest link.
Recall that Trump’s ban specifically mentioned gender dysphoria, a mental illness that manifests in a desire to alleviate the issue with surgery, hormones, clothing changes, and more—much like anorexia. It requires physical, emotional, and psychological treatment. Many physicians choose to treat it through sex reassignment surgery and hormone blockers, depending on the person’s wishes. If a transgender person were to enter the military and, down the road, experience dysphoria and wish to have these changes, these treatments would make that member “nondeployable” or even unable to perform his or her duties—despite the fact that the military has put so many resources into training this person.
While many psychological and physical health issues disqualify people from serving in the military, some issues do not. Still, those must be short-term and manageable, and should not keep the member from being able to do his or her job for a long period of time. The military won’t even allow people to serve if their movement or eyesight is restricted, yet there’s outrage when the military places a ban on people who often wish to change their entire biological makeup through surgery and medication on the military’s dime.
From a national security standpoint, this is simply unwise—not bigoted or discriminatory, but unsafe and unnecessary.
The military was not created to help people solve their problems, find themselves, change their biology, make friends, earn money, or enjoy a vacation. The military exists to keep this country safe, and there are thousands of men and women who sacrifice their time, resources, family, and health to ensure this happens.
The Trump administration’s transgender ban is not a bigoted attempt to dehumanize or marginalize a group of patriots anymore than it could be faulted as such for trying to keep me from being a Top Gun pilot despite poor eyesight.
The military should refuse to bend to the will of politically correct thought and continue to function as an exclusive, dedicated fighting force.
Nicole Russell is a freelance writer and mother of four. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, Politico, The Daily Beast, and the Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @russell_nm
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.