President Donald Trump announced last July that transgender people would not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, reversing Barack Obama’s 2016 policy.
But the military was not prepared to carry out Trump’s policy. In the interim, activists sued, and have been able to postpone the implementation of Trump’s decision. They have framed the issue as a demand for equality. In fact, what they are demanding is special treatment from the military.
The Department of Defense handbook on implementing Obama’s transgender policy asserts that “sex and gender are different,” and defines transgenderism, or “gender dysphoria,” as “a medical diagnosis that refers to distress that some transgender individuals experience due to a mismatch between their gender and their sex assigned at birth.” As such, the policy states, they are entitled to receive “all medically necessary care related to gender transition.”
That is a glaring exception to the rule the military applies to all other recruits. Otherwise healthy people are turned away from the U.S. armed forces every day because they have minor medical conditions, such as missing one kidney, experiencing recurrent headaches, or having bad teeth. The military even bans people with for having too many piercings, or tattoos in the wrong places. Medical conditions are disqualifying — except for gender dysphoria.
The military will provide medical care for those who become wounded or ill during their service. But it does not otherwise provide corrective treatment for those arriving with medical conditions.
So the question of transgender troops is not about equality at all. It is about culture — whether the armed forces should be used to convince the rest of society that “sex and gender are different.”
Whatever the outcome, activists should at least be honest about that.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.