by Mark Angelides
President Trump has declared that he rolling back Obama’s policy of allowing transgendered people to serve “in any capacity” in the US military. The usual suspects have come out of the woodwork stating how “discriminatory” this policy reversal is and that it is fuelled by bigotry. I don’t know the President well enough to determine if his decision is based on bigotry or not; but looking at some basic information regarding transgendered people gives enough of a reason to accept that this ban is the right course of action.
In the US, more than 20 veterans commit suicide every day (about 7,300 each year), and although these figures are often contested, it is the cause that is questioned, not the actual number of bodies. The average male suicide rate is far higher in the general population, around 19 per 100,000; and more men are in the military…in 2011 men made up around 85% of military personnel.
So the suicide rate for veterans IS higher than in the average population. When this is added to the shockingly high suicide (and more so attempted suicide) rat in the transgendered population, it is a recipe for disaster. UCLA studies suggest that the attempted suicide rate in trans people is around 40% (even higher for younger trans people). And yes, it is in large part due to society’s failures in acceptance and attitude, but if you combine the higher suicide rates in both veterans and trans people, we will likely see a huge rise in deaths.
Those opposing this ban may argue that people shouldn’t be discriminated against or “pressured leading to suicide” by the wider population, and they’re right, but until the day comes when trans people are fully accepted, then putting them in the military is plainly just asking for more suicides (of course, the Ideology that opposes this ban does not actually care one way or the other if trans people kill themselves, they just care about pushing their agenda).
The second reason that this ban is a sound idea is that people who are undergoing gender reassignment will likely be taking courses for hormone therapy. Hormone changes create mood changes, attitude changes, and can be stressful (as the body adjusts); this is not a good condition for people who may be in high stress situations for prolonged periods of time. Frankly it can be dangerous not just for them but also for those that rely on them to make sound, snap judgments.
The third reason is practicality. If a transgender person wants to go through treatments (and even surgeries), then they will not be “battle ready”. Would an employer take on a member of staff knowing that they will not be in a position to carry out their duties for a period of their contract?
Making the economic argument against trans people serving in the military is idiotic. Studies suggest that even if all trans people underwent a full raft of medical procedures, it would still cost less than $10 million, which in terms of the military budget is almost nothing. But there are good reasons for this ban to be brought back in…And that’s where the debate should be.