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Posted on Feb 22, 2018 Print this Article

Conservative Consensus Supports Trump on Transgenders in the Military

Liberal media sources keep focusing on the demands of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) activists, but President Donald J. Trump has a clear mandate to restore sound policy on the matter of transgenders in the military.

On February 14, the Conservative Action Project (CAP) released a statement supporting Trump’s views, signed by 137 distinguished organization leaders and individuals, 46 of them retired military of high rank:

In addition, on February 2, the Republican National Committee voted unanimously for a Resolution titled:

Endorsers of the Memo and the RNC Resolution, which reinforce planks in the 2016 Republican National Platform, hope that the Trump administration finally will put the transgender issue in the rear-view mirror.    

It’s the Only Military We Have – Who Is In Charge?

President Trump’s intent is clear, but Obama holdovers and federal judges keep throwing obstacles in his way.

Under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, federal judges have no power to run the military.  That authority belongs to the elected branches of government: Congress (Article I) and the Executive (Article II).

Nevertheless, four federal district judges have issued preliminary injunctions forcing the Department of Defense to recruit persons who identify as transgender starting on January 1.  Some courts also ordered the Defense Department to pay for controversial sex-change surgeries that do not resolve underlying psychological problems.

Two U.S. Courts of Appeals, overseeing Washington, D.C. and the 4th Circuit, refused to stay those rulings.  For unknown reasons, the Defense Department did not authorize the Department of Justice to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for immediate intervention on constitutional grounds:

As stated in the CAP Memo for the Movement, it is necessary to petition the Supreme Court for a stay of lower court decisions to preserve presidential prerogatives.  As with all national security matters, the issue here is not the transgender policy alone, but who gets to decide what the military’s policy will be.  Federal judges in black robes should not be allowed to decide military enlistment requirements.

Absent successful appeals and intervention by the Supreme Court, lower court judges will continue to usurp presidential and congressional authority.

Even if the Defense Department produces a solid report and President Trump cites it in restoring sound policy, the same district judges who issued preliminary injunctions last year likely will apply unprecedented “heightened scrutiny” again, declaring Trump’s legitimate new policies to be unconstitutional.

What’s worse, if the current situation is allowed to stand, the unfortunate precedent could invite more judicial interference in other presidential decisions affecting national security.  This is dangerous, since the federal judiciary is the branch of government that is least qualified to run the military.

The administration should confront activist judges who try to substitute their opinions for directions from the Commander in Chief, and who presume to deny the constitutional right of President Trump to make policy for the military, every time.

What Will the Administration Do?

Under Obama mandates, military commanders, doctors, and nurses must approve or participate in medical procedures that many consider unethical.  Under Defense Department and military service directives, analyzed in a July 2017 CMR Special Report, once a person expresses doubts about their own gender identity, the politicized military medical system must push the unfortunate self-diagnosing person toward treatments leading in only one LGBT-approved direction.

Under court orders, the Defense Department must continue to subsidize controversial hormone therapies and possible surgeries that do not mitigate underlying psychological problems, including high risks of suicide.  Persons attempting to change their gender – which is scientifically impossible – must be granted lengthy leave for months at a time for hormone treatments and “real life experience” (RLE) as a person of the opposite sex.

Military officials have admitted that body-altering hormone treatments and surgeries could detract from occupational performance, deployability, mission readiness, and combat lethality.  These are the very qualities that President Trump said should be assigned highest priority.

In his August 25 Memorandum, President Trump’s called for three reasonable things:

a)     A return to the longstanding policy and practice on military service by transgender individuals that was in place prior to June 2016;

b)     An end to Defense Department or Homeland Security resources to fund “sex-reassignment surgical procedures” for military personnel; and

c)     By February 21, 2018, a report on ways to address the status of transgender individuals currently serving in the United States military.

A report from the Department of Defense on ways to change policy was due on February 21, but the Secretary of Defense may not release his report to the president publicly.  Indications are that the report will not be an objective “study,” and it will not be the fact-based document that the president deserves.

This is because Secretary of Defense James Mattis retained in office a prominent Obama holdover Pentagon official, Anthony Kurta, who was one of the architects of the previous administration’s transgender policies.  As explained in this article, Obama holdover Kurta ended up in charge of Secretary Mattis' transgender project:

The assignment is difficult to explain, since Mr. Kurta instigated a Pentagon LGBT Pride event in June 2017, even without authorization from President Trump.  And in June 2016, the RAND Corporation praised Kurta for his role in producing their own deeply flawed report advocating for transgenders in the military.

It is unfortunate that due to Kurta’s record of pro-LGBT advocacy, the Pentagon “Panel of Experts,” which was supposed to take an objective look at the transgender issue and make sound recommendations, likely will produce a report that fails to meet the president’s expectations.

Political Advantage is on the President’s Side

Backtracking on the president’s promises would not make political sense because the Trump administration already is on the right side.  Defense Department capitulation to federal judges or LGBT activists would not be consistent with the good already done by changes in Education and Justice Department policies.

In 2017, the Departments of Education and Justice, headed by Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, canceled the Obama-era “guidance” that sparked “open-door” restroom transgender policies and privacy concerns in civilian schools.  DoD officials followed suit, revoking an Obama-era directive imposing the same guidance on the largest school system in the world. 

This year, the Department of Education announced an end to consideration of complaints demanding restroom access for persons of the opposite sex.  These decisions were well-received.

If the Defense Department fails to challenge the courts, transgender activists will use a second inappropriate Pentagon “LGBT Pride” event to lobby for full medical coverage, including sex-change surgeries, for dependent military children.  This could happen easily in the military, even though a number of experts have warned of devastating consequences for vulnerable children once they fall into the one-way cycle of transgender puberty-blocking treatments. 

What Should the Department of Defense Do?

In addition to authorizing petitions to the Supreme Court for stays of lower court orders, the Department of Defense should take steps to protect presidential prerogatives as the litigation continues.

Federal district courts have ordered the military to induct persons suffering from gender dysphoria, but the Supreme Court may overturn those preliminary rulings on constitutional grounds.  What then?

The government should inform applicants who identify as transgender that the government is following court orders, but is also contesting the issue.  Conditional contracts, which are not unusual, should inform applicants that if the government prevails in the litigation, enlistment or re-enlistment contracts issued under court orders may be voided.

It would be both prudent and fair to give specific notice of possible change in the enlistee’s status, since conditional contracts would allow applicants to consider whether they wish to enter the service under those conditions.

Instead of thinking this through and taking action to protect presidential prerogatives, in December the Department of Defense issued a 7-page Directive that obsesses about what type of underwear transgender recruits should wear to the MEPS (military entrance processing station).

Among other things, the bizarre document directs applicants to wear men’s underwear if their male parts have not been removed, even if the applicant identifies as female.  Pre-surgical biological females identifying as men should wear women’s underwear and undergo pregnancy tests.  These and additional gender-confused mandates, including pronouns reflecting inductees' “preferred gender” rather than their “birth gender,” are mandatory.  Any questions?

This document and the full array of still-operative Obama directives demonstrate how far the Defense Department officials and LGBT consultants have veered away from biological reality.  It is not right to expect junior officers or commanders to spend countless hours trying to deal with complex medical-social issues such as this.

Gender dysphoria, which used to be on a long list of disqualifying physical and psychological factors, is a difficult medical condition that requires compassion and competent medical treatment.  Others should figure out ways to help individuals who are confused about their gender identity,  but the military must focus on its primary mission – national defense in a dangerous world.

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The Center for Military Readiness is an independent public policy organization that reports on and analyzes military/social issues.  More information is available on the CMR website, www.cmrlink.orgTo support CMR with a tax-deductible contribution, click hereYou can also support CMR by visiting, liking, and sharing the CMR Facebook page.

Posted on Feb 22, 2018 Print this Article