This is one of those stories that I really don’t have any right to comment on. I’m not transgender, nor do I have any friends or relatives who are. I would consider myself an ally, but mainly that’s because I don’t believe hurricanes are caused by gay marriage.
I suppose the main reason I keep checking up on these stories is I’m waiting for the answer to the question: How big of an issue is this?
I mean, are there lines and lines of transgender people camping outside of recruiting offices waiting to sign up? Are the Marines inundated with a few good men with many good estrogen pills? Are VA hospitals now the best place to receive gender reassignment surgery?
I feel transgendered people should be allotted the same rights and privileges as any other members of society. I believe they should be allowed to marry whomever they choose and join whatever organizations they choose. I also believe that they shouldn’t have to use different public restrooms, water fountains or have to sit in the back of buses.
I do have to play devil’s advocate and say that if the American Psychiatric Association defines gender dysphoria as a mental illness, it does make sense to not allow transgendered people into the military. I thought it went without saying that people suffering from severe mental illness weren’t suitable for the challenges and stresses of serving. I know I was turned away for major depression. But couldn’t we just say that the military will not accept people with major mental illnesses? Did there really need to be an executive order singling out a certain group of people and holding them up for ridicule?
I don’t think so. I think the main point of this is a play to Trump’s base of transphobic cretins who enjoy looking down on those who are different. Like many of his actions, I think it’s a solution in search of a problem. I haven’t seen a good number, but considering about 0.6% of the population identifies as trans I don’t think they’re overwhelming recruitment offices.*
It’s just that in America we salute brave military heroes and believe that they can do anything. Except get gender reassignment surgery. Or assistance if they’re homeless. Or shoot a moving target from the window of a book depository.
*An article I read this morning cites a Rand Corporation study that said there are several thousand transgendered troops serving in the active-duty forces. This seemed excessive to me, but I did the math and 0.6% of the million active-duty troops does come out to 6,000.