After his administration seemed to dither and slow-roll the issue in its first six months, President Trump came out today and made his announcement: no transgender troops in the military.
This is the right call. More on that in a moment. Here is how Trump described it:
In a series of tweets, he wrote:
“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming..victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”
Trump is making himself an outrage magnet here (which is what I think he’s also doing with his seemingly inexplicable rhetoric war “against” Jeff Sessions). He’s taking responsibility for the call, and visibly making it himself. He implies that his generals and experts concur with him, but he doesn’t say he’s making the decision based on their advice.
Aside from the howling indignation of the progressive left, most Americans will be relieved by this eminently sensible decision. I wrote about the counterproductive nature of the “transgenders in the military” proposition last year, and nothing has changed since then.
It’s not just that the military’s preparations for adapting to transgender servicemembers have been troubling and evidently unworkable. (E.g., unclothed biological males showing up in women’s showers and latrines, and women just having to deal with it – without complaint, lest they be deemed bigots and haters.)
It’s that the whole enterprise would have the military absorbed in an open-ended social experiment that has no applicability whatsoever to national defense. The idea, just for starters, that our national defense dollars should be spent on sex-reassignment surgery for people who consider themselves transgender is, quite literally, insane.
So is the idea that the military services should have to tiptoe around transgenders, allowing them to do whatever they are most comfortable with rather than participating in required evolutions on the same basis as everyone else. If your psychological state is such that you can’t participate in military activities on the same basis as everyone else – with uniformity of expectations, putting the mission and the team first – then the military doesn’t need you.
That’s why I wrote in 2016 that the military doesn’t need, and will never need, transgender service members. It bears repeating that this is in no way a statement of hostility toward transgender people – any more than it’s a statement of hostility toward paraplegics to say that the Navy SEALs or the Army Rangers will never need their uniformed service.
There is perhaps a case to be made for accepting post-reassignment transgender people, although even that is questionable. There is no reason for the military to take on the burdens of special medical provisions for people who don’t fit the overwhelmingly normal physical profiles of men and women. The military excludes a lot of people for reasons of physical condition, precisely because such conditions limit a potential service member’s eligibility for assignments, and because paying for their upkeep is relatively expensive.
But there’s also the problem that “transgender” is – according to its political proponents – a proposition so “fluid” and multifarious that it can’t be pinned down. The comparatively simple concept of a man becoming a woman is, according to this gender ideology, too simple and binary. Across America, in the halls of academia and media – and now even public records like driver’s licenses – the case is made that “gender is not binary,” but rather is “fluid,” and can mean anything you feel like it means at the moment (or nothing, if that’s how you feel too).
There is no way the military can function, if it has to keep up with such a randomly moving goalpost. There is no reason why it should have to try. The military is there to fight and win when we have to go to war, period. If we want a military that functions, the last thing we should do is mandate its acceptance of a tiny number of candidates whose inability to put the mission before their personal issues would create problems out of all proportion to their contribution.