Transgender Controversy Gnaws at Military Morale, Readiness

While the issue of transgenders in the US military has been at a low simmer for more than a year, it continues to be a source of consternation and angst within the military itself, just as any unresolved policy matter would be. While it seems transgenders would ultimately contribute little in the form of military readiness (some public reports indicate actual transgenders in the military number in the high-two digits), the manner in which to address this demographic continues to substantially draw on senior leader time and every troops’ moral conscience.

In an apparent effort to establish their argument as one beyond Donald Trump, the LGBT community is fixated on making this a Christian-vs-everyone-else argument — specifically targeting VP Mike Pence and the Family Research Council. It’s an interesting if little noticed political effort, as the “left” tries to balance the costs and benefits of using Donald Trump as a bogeyman for everything.  It also reflects a degree of politically motivated sculpting, given Trump’s policy on transgenders was authored, supported, and will proactively be defended by Secretary of Defense James Mattis — a widely respected leader.  Thus, while activists have half-heartedly attacked Secretary Mattis over the policy, they almost always give him an out, as the NYT editorial board did recently:

It’s unclear whether Mr. Mattis, a retired Marine general, believes in banning transgender people or felt hemmed in after Mr. Trump decreed the ban in a series of tweets last July.

Because LGBT activists feel they would lose credibility if they attacked Secretary Mattis, they have to find someone else.

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF also continues to make it an issue of sexuality vs religion, with his sometime spokesman John Compere recently saying those who oppose military service by transgenders are actually bad Christians:

Radicalized religious fundamentalists who judge and condemn transgender, gay and lesbian human beings reject the theistic tribute “In God We Trust”, biblical human creation by God in God’s image (Genesis1:27), and God’s biblical judgment authority (Romans 2:1-3)…Their anti-biblical bigotry also makes a malevolent mockery of the second greatest commandment to love one’s neighbors (Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27).

Further, Compere seemed to say that because transgenderism is “not a choice”, it should, ergo, be normalized:

Medical science informs us gender dysphoria (gender orientation) is biological not volitional. It reflects one’s being, not choice. The transgendered…are human beings and fellow Americans morally deserving our acceptance and inclusion.

That’s interesting, but not terribly relevant. There are lots of people born with various conditions, but just because someone was born with, say, diabetes does not mean they are granted some inalienable right to serve in the US military. (Compere’s argument also ignores the issue of behavior, not being.)

Homosexual activists celebrated last week when US Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) made a point of asking each of the uniformed service chiefs (during budget hearings) whether they were aware of any negative effects of transgender personnel currently serving. (Senior enlisted have answered the question as well.)

Naturally, the answer was no. (Secretary Mattis, apparently more appropriately, demurred due to the fact the DoD is a defendant in multiple court cases in which this question would be relevant.) There are an extraordinarily small number of transgenders serving — so small, in fact, the Marines actually counted them at 27 and the Army said they were few enough to be “monitored very closely.”

With such scrutiny, everyone on both sides of the argument is on their best behavior — and walking on eggshells. The only voices within the military allowed to speak are those in favor of transgender service, so the public and the military leadership aren’t going to hear any attributable counterarguments from within the military itself.

Another important distinction is that the Chiefs said they weren’t aware of any “issues of unit cohesion, disciplinary problems or issues of morale.” That doesn’t mean there haven’t been any, as Secretary Mattis pointed out himself during his congressional testimony. For example, unit morale took a significant hit force-wide when the military instituted mandatory training on the transgender issue — including training that appeared to tell service members how they had to think.

Morale took another hit when the military declared that men who claimed to be women would be allowed to bunk and shower with women (anatomy and biology notwithstanding) — and there wasn’t anything those women could do about it, lest they risk being punished for their failure to accept that person’s self-defined gender role.

(Gillibrand has now led the publication of a letter signed by 48 Democrat and 2 Republican Senators disapproving of the DoD’s current plan on transgenders.)

And consider this unusual statement:

Then there’s the matter of national security. When hostile forces around the world are showing teeth, this isn’t the time to weaken troop levels and morale.

That was a Washington state editorial in support of transgender service, apparently blind to its own irony.

Which is worse to morale and effectiveness: (1) forcing 1.5 million people — against most of their wishes — to normalize and accept abhorrent behavior (of any kind) by a few people, or (2) keeping those people out?  The answer is obvious to anyone not prejudiced by a desire for special sexual privilege.

Further, it’s worth remembering that during the repeal of DADT, supporters said the same thing — and they ignored the basis for what would become the very real examples of negative impacts to unit morale, good order, and discipline.

Even worse, DADT repeal — about which the same reassurances were given — happened nearly seven years ago. Yet even now there are incidents in which homosexuals have targeted Christian service members for their beliefs and the system — and the chain of command — have prosecuted them. In two of the three well known cases, troops were “convicted” and required to appeal to the highest levels before the services reversed. The third case is still outstanding — and those are only the most recent examples.

With that in mind, it is hard for US troops’ morale to not suffer at the thought of yet another “protected” demographic defined by their chosen sexual behaviors to be forcibly emplaced within the military.

Finally, much of the service is simply tired; they’re resigned to the progressive social order that is going to force upon them the required acceptance and normalization of those in society who have specific sexual practices — irrespective of any legitimate military necessity. For them, they’ve seen the penalty of holding to their moral beliefs or religious worldview — and, in a manner of speaking, they’re just going to shut up and color. It doesn’t mean they support homosexuals or transgenders in the military, and if asked in the proper forum they’d say as much.

But they also recognize the futility of their individual attempts to oppose a new social order rooted in sin and depravity. We live in a fallen world, and we will reap the consequences of the choices we make.

Yes, a Christian can still be Secretary of State — but only after a narrow vote highlighted by attacks on his character by US Senators not because of his behavior, but because of his Christian beliefs.

US troops who hold to moral or religious beliefs regarding human sexuality and marriage will continue to attempt to influence the world where they can; they just accept that their struggle has become a little bit harder.

Remember, too, that religious liberty is recognized as a human right. The right to exercise one’s faith — exercise that includes expression — is protected by the supreme law of the land in America, its US Constitution. Sexual preference and behavior has no such protection.

Yet sexuality is being elevated religious freedom (as Chai Feldblum, who was recently renominated by President Trump, asserted years ago).

Who could have imagined American society would reach a point where those who understood the realities of “male” and “female” would be vilified — and they, not their attackers, would be the ones held in reproach?

We have truly reached an era in which personal sexual behaviors outweigh moral character. And that is tragic.