DoD Publishes Transgender Implementation Handbook

transbookThe Department of Defense has published “An Implementation Handbook” to “Transgender Service in the US Military” (as a PDF). While apparently trying to be helpful, it contains a lot of “it depends” type answers. For example, will a Soldier get in trouble for using the “wrong” pronoun with respect to someone who is a male but claims to be female [emphasis added]?

Question: What pronouns should I use with transgender Service members?

Answer: This will vary by individual and unit. Transgender Service members should work with their unit leadership to establish correct pronoun usage. If there is ever any question about pronoun usage, do not hesitate to ask the Service member how they wish to be addressed.

That’s not terribly helpful — and it is extraordinarily ambiguous. It also seems to leave room for people to emulate Grant Strobl, the University of Michigan student who took advantage of the policy to choose his own “preferred pronoun” by declaring himself “His Majesty.”

More importantly, are US troops of faith being set up to get in trouble…again [emphasis added]?

Question: What about Service members whose beliefs just cannot allow them to accept this [transgenderism] as normal?

Answer: In today’s military, people of different moral and religious values work, live, and fight together. This is possible because they treat each other with dignity and respect. This will not change. There will be no changes regarding Service members’ ability to freely exercise their religious beliefs, nor are there any changes to policies concerning the Chaplain Corps of the Military Departments and their duties. Service members will continue to treat with respect and serve with others who may hold different views and beliefs.

For those with reading comprehension problems, that respect is supposed to go both ways — not just from those with religious objections.  Of course, that’s the same thing the DoD said about the repeal of DADT, and a variety of service members (including Chaplain Wes Modder) can tell you how accurate that was.

Given this history, it remains to be seen if the US military will, in fact, consistently protect the rights of its troops to their religious exercise, even as it allows and advocates for behaviors and lifestyles contrary to both many troops’ religious beliefs and centuries of moral standards.