This morning, President Trump tweeted out that he was reversing President Obama’s decision to allow transgender troops to serve openly. In my opinion, this is the correct decision.

Let us concede from the outset that this may not even happen. The president released this information through Twitter, saying that “after consultation with my generals…” However, the Pentagon is deferring all questions to the White House, and a state of general confusion is seemingly running through D.C. As I’ve said many times, it is much harder take away a benefit or policy, once implemented, than it is to give it in the first place, as we’ve seen in the healthcare debate. But we will assume for argument’s sake that this is, in fact, the way forward for the military.

It cannot be stated enough that service in the military is not a right, but a privilege and an honor. There are many, many Americans who were unable to be admitted to the military for all variety of physical or mental ailments well beyond their control. Color-blindness? You can’t get in. Asthma history? Nope. Got an ulcer? Sorry. The list goes on. Bad hearing, hernia, even poor dental work is all cause for rejection. Indeed, this author, after undergoing one of the most grueling military training pipelines in the world, had his own medical problems and was forced to leave the service early. This happens daily, to many other service members. It is a harsh truth, but an understandable one: The U.S. military is not in the business of keeping people on active duty who require medical care. 

The original order itself was never even explained to the American people. After all, what exactly are we talking about? The original DoD order said that transgender recruits could not join at all unless they were 18 months post-transition:

  • Our initial accession policy will require an individual to have completed any medical treatment that their doctor has determined is necessary in connection with their gender transition, and to have been stable in their preferred gender for 18 months, as certified by their doctor, before they can enter the military.
  • This standard will be reviewed no later than 24 months from July 1, 2016 to ensure it reflects what more we learn as this is implemented, as well as the most updated medical information.

Obviously, this is easily worked around, as I have noted in the past. Simply by keeping one’s transgender identity a secret would have allowed them to join the military, and then demand treatment after they were in. The order continued:

  • Service members with a diagnosis from a military medical provider indicating that gender transition is medically necessary will be provided medical care and treatment for the diagnosed medical condition, in the same manner as other medical care and treatment.
  • Gender transition in the military begins when a Service member receives a diagnosis from a military medical provider indicating that gender transition is medically necessary, and concludes when the Service member’s gender marker is changed in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and the Service member serves and is recognized in the preferred gender.
  • At that point, the Service member is responsible for meeting all applicable military standards in the preferred gender and will use berthing, bathroom, and shower facilities associated with their gender.

Keep that in mind as we look at what the transgender activists are demanding. They would have you believe that an individual who requires life-changing, intensive surgery with weeks, if not months of downtime, does not affect readiness. They would have you believe that a trans individual who now requires regular hormone therapy requires no special medical care. They would have you believe that a post-op transgender individual will not require tremendous mental health counseling as they assume their new identity. These are all absurd claims. OF COURSE someone laying in a hospital bed and recovering from surgery affects military readiness. It is baffling that anyone would claim otherwise.

Op-Ed: Military transgender ban- Let them serve but no transition surgery

Read Next: Op-Ed: Military transgender ban- Let them serve but no transition surgery

Then again, it isn’t really that baffling. Because this order had nothing to do with military readiness, or combat effectiveness. The original order was not a military decision, but a political decision, made by President Obama and his Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, in their pursuit of “social justice.” It was never about making the military more effective. Rather, it was about forcing the military to comply with a gender-less brave new military world, where men and women are equal to all tasks that the service may require of them.

As for the trans individuals themselves? This author has written long pieces about this topic, and has sympathy for these people. It is a complex subject, and especially for those who are affected by it. They need medical care and mental health counseling, and often battle these identity issues for the rest of their lives. It is necessary that we, as a society and country talk about these issues and try to help when we can. However, the military is not the place to have these discussions or to allocate the resource. Those resources instead  should go to those military members who have been wounded or sickened by their military service, a challenge that is already difficult enough.

There will be plenty more to write on this topic in the coming days ahead. However, seeing the fury that Trump’s order has caused among the activist left is extraordinary, especially for Obama’s order that hadn’t even actually taken effect yet, as the military had requested more time to figure it out. The military should not be in the business of studying how best to help soldiers transition to a new identity, but return to its main mission: defending America from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and destroying those enemies. Let’s get back to that serious business.

 

Editorial Cartoon courtesy of Robert L. Lang