Transgender Individuals in the Military
There is an ongoing debate / argument as to whether or not to allow transgender individuals to severed in the military. In order to properly formulate one’s opinion there is to know understand a definition of who is considered a transgender. A transgender can be described as an individual who have a gender identity or in most case a gender expression that is differ from their assigned sex at birth.
However some transgender individual can be identify as transsexual if there is a desire for medical assistance to transition from one sex to another. With such desired to server their country in the military services, there was a series of policies adopted by the Obama Administration to eventually allow transgender to openly served. However these policies through social media in the form via Twitter were over turn and the ban reinstated on July 26th 2017 by now President Donald Trump.
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Over the years there is a spark of a wide array of passionate response as to the topic of transgender serving in the military. Unfortunately, there are numerous myths, stereotype and “false or fake news’ from many individual who may have never interacted with a person identified as transgender as this may be a very unfamiliar territory. As per transgender serving in the military there are many questions need to be asked. Such questions included but not limited to; what does it mean to be transgender? Are transgender members fit to serve?
How does transition affect military service? What are the costs? How will this affect non-transgender members in a unit? It then becomes extremely difficult to make impartial, fact-based assessment of the situation due to one’s religious perspective, the media, and social, cultural and political issues. The aims now is to separate fact from fiction to assess whether transgender members should be allowed to serve in the military.
In response to the 25 August 2017 presidential memorandum “Military Service by Transgender Individuals,” the Department of Defense is developing an implementation plan that will address transgender individuals currently serving in the U.S. military, as well as the accession of transgender individuals into the military. With Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s recommendation to the White House, the department is rightly focused on developing a plan that will “promote military readiness, lethality, and unit cohesion, with due regard for budgetary constraints and consistent with applicable law.”
With the development of plans and subsequence implication to address the issues of transgender individuals currently serving in the U.S. military there is the question as it relate to transgender individual and their fitness to serve. With its strong military standards of fitness any person with a male body must meet male service standards while anyone with a female body must meet female standards. As the standards remain unchanged, transgender individuals must meet the standards of their physical body are fit for service. Those who meet the standards can serve; those who do not cannot. Transgender individuals are medically and physically fit to serve; they meet standards and serve today.
There has been an inconsistent policy throughout the history of the military when it came gays (transgender) individual in the military although there were no written policies barring homosexual (transgender) from serving. Having said that it was not until 1982 the Department of Defense officially put something in writing that stated that (transgender) “homosexuality was incompatible with military service”.
By the beginning of 1993, it appeared that the military’s ban on gay personnel would soon be overturned. After lengthy public debate and congressional hearings, the President and Senator Sam Nunn, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reached a compromise which they labeled Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue. Under its terms, military personnel would not be asked about their sexual orientation and would not be discharged simply for being gay.
On August 9th 2017 in the Unites States District Court for the District of Colombia, a land mark case Joe Doe vs Trump was filled by lawyers from the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders challenging the directive as laid out by President Trump to reinstate the ban against transgender serving in the military. This was done on behalf of five transgender who has approximately 60 years of total military services, however it was not until 2019 January 4th the suit Jane Doe vs Trump was decided. Accordingly it was the ruling that such policy as put out by the Trump administration should not be blocked. Due in part to three preliminary injunctions the policy as put forward by the Trump administration continues to be blocked because they were not part of the lawsuit.