Secretary Mattis Should Restore Sound Priorities
Military Times recently reported that LGBT activists are pushing hard to get the Trump Administration to fully embrace President Barack Obama’s orders to accommodate transgenders in the military.
At the same time, a new Conservative Action Project (CAP) "Memo for the Movement," signed by more than 85 distinguished organization leaders and individuals, pushed back against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender) activism aimed at the Department of Defense:
The Memo appreciates efforts by President Donald J. Trump to strengthen military readiness and asks the administration to take three important steps toward the goal of eliminating political correctness in the military:
Aaron Belkin, who heads an LGBT activist group called the Michael D. Palm Center, expects the military medical system to provide specialized medical care, including surgery, to personnel who are confused about their sexual identity. Some sources estimate transgender medical procedures and hospitalization to cost between $125,000 and $150,000, but Belkin guesses that average costs within the military health system would be a mere $30,000.
The disingenuous low-ball estimate probably does not include commanding officers’ time diverted to manage complex cases, the impact of displacing other patients, losses due to treatment-related non-deployability, and lifelong hormone therapy to sustain transgender delusions. Estimates aside, medical costs are the least of it.
Mandates from President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter are forcing the armed forces to assume the risks of retaining and recruiting a cohort of persons who are suffering from gender dysphoria, one of several psychological conditions that affect personal readiness. Gender dysphoria requires long-term medical treatments and sometimes surgery, with uncertain results and higher risks of depression and suicide.
Military Moral Dilemmas
CMR has analyzed the full array of Defense Department directives, instructions, guidebooks, training presentations, handbooks, roadmaps, and toolkits issued to make radical transgender policies "work." The set includes a 2016 Directive and subsequent mandates derived from it, which deliberately turned priorities upside down, from military necessity to political correctness.
Another Obama-Carter 2016 Instruction, which should be revoked, explicitly states that military commanders, doctors, and nurses must approve, participate in, or perform body-altering surgeries that many consider contrary to medical ethics or an affront to their own personal convictions or religious beliefs. The only way to avoid disobeying such orders is to leave the service.
All documents promote pure LGBT ideology with mandatory indoctrination that an official handbook describes as “an information briefing that is NOT intended to be a facilitated discussion.”
The doctrinaire information presented, often provided by named LGBT activists groups, relentlessly promotes the unscientific notion that gender identity is “assigned” at birth and can be altered by changing a person’s official “gender marker.” Click the bureaucratic box and voila, a male member of military has “transitioned” to a woman or a woman to a man.
On the contrary, science says that gender is identified at birth, not assigned. Every person’s unique DNA exists in every cell of their human body. A person’s true gender markers, known as XX or XY chromosomes, cannot be altered with changes in hair and clothing, hormone treatments, or body-altering surgeries.
It must be difficult to live life with profound confusion about gender identity. This psychological condition, called gender dysphoria, requires compassion and competent medical treatment. The military medical system, however, is designed to serve purposes of national defense.
Properly understood, military medicine is a force multiplier. It should not be considered a prime venue for psychological treatments and surgeries that many doctors and nurses consider unethical. According to long-term studies at Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere, transgender treatments do not reduce rates of psychological problems and suicide.
Politicized military medicine forces commanders and doctors to authorize or provide politically-correct medical advice that complies with LGBT delusions, while withholding reality-based information that all patients deserve to hear. None of this will improve mission readiness and combat lethality – the paramount goals that incoming Secretary of Defense James Mattis said he would pursue as his highest priority.
How the Pentagon Should Proceed
The armed forces protect individual rights, but they must be governed by different rules. In terms of mission readiness, it makes no sense to recruit or retain transitioning personnel who are unavailable for deployment for long periods of time.
A Navy Gender Transition Commanding Officer’s Toolkit recommends a “Personal Reliability Program” to identify individuals suffering side-effects from transgender hormone treatments, which might make them ineligible for flight duty or diving operations for six months or more. Another Navy Briefing Guide mentions State Department warnings about cross-dressing personnel serving in some foreign countries.
Nevertheless, by July 1 Secretary of Defense Mattis is supposed to affirm that LGBT training has prepared the military for policies that put political correctness above military readiness. Secretary Mattis is not bound by such deadlines, but he should review specifics in LGBT training manuals and the full impact of long-term plans.
For example, an official Transgender Implementation Handbook states that before transition occurs, a person may live a double life called “Real Life Experience.” RLE means that commanding officers must support male personnel wearing uniforms by day and going out in female clothing by night.
The handbook includes nineteen model scenarios, some of which are simply bizarre. Scenario #3 explains what a commander should do when “Marty” announces he is pregnant. And #15 makes it clear that women who have minimal expectations of privacy in close quarters should accept biological men and “gender pretenders” entering women-only facilities such as showers.
In all situations, the handbook recommends consultation with remote “Service Center Coordination Cells” (SCCCs) and “expert” consultants who are committed to full implementation of LGBT law in the military. As stated in the Memo for the Movement, these mandates were imposed administratively without congressional oversight or approval; they can and should be revoked in the same way.
End Pentagon “LGBT Pride” Events
Determined activists want President Trump and Secretary Mattis to issue LGBT Pride Month proclamations in June, re-authorizing President Obama's tax-funded annual festival to lobby for even more LGBT demands.
According to an AP human interest story, the National Center for Transgender Equality wants the Defense Department to provide irreversible hormone and surgical treatments to veterans and military dependents, including children.
It doesn’t matter to the activists that winsome young children are not mature enough to give informed consent for powerful, irreversible hormone treatments. Nor do they care about studies of transgender children showing that most outgrow the condition after the onset of puberty.
Even feminist writer Camille Paglia, who describes herself as “gender-fluid,” said in a recent article that she is “horrified” by the escalating prescription of hormones for minor children who are confused about gender identity. “Have the adults gone mad?” Paglia asked. “Children are now being used for fashionable medical experiments with unknown long-term results.”
Because President Trump is not obligated to retain his predecessor’s controversial LGBT policies, the administration correctly nullified an October 1, 2016, Pentagon directive imposing “open-door” shower and bathroom guidelines on all Department of Defense schools, worldwide. That was a step in the right direction, and Secretary Mattis has the power to do much more.
As stated in the Memo for the Movement, “The process of strengthening our military will not succeed if military service personnel have to contend with problematic military/social policies imposed by the Obama Administration – policies that actually impede mission readiness, command proficiency, and combat effectiveness.”
These issues are not about PC causes or social ties, they are about harmful policies that assign higher priority to political and ideological goals, not military readiness. President Trump and Secretary Mattis can strengthen our military by restoring sound priorities that are long overdue.
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More information and commentary on this issue:
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Prepared by the Center for Military Readiness, an independent public policy organization founded in 1993, which reports on and analyses military/social issues. More information is available on the CMR website: www.cmrlink.org. To support CMR with a tax-deductible contribution, click here. You can also support CMR by visiting, liking, and sharing the CMR Facebook page.