A Pentagon survey shows fewer than 25 servicemembers have used former President Barack Obama’s transgender rules to request free cosmetic genital surgery, even though progressive activists have argued for several years that 14,000 people in the military want to be treated as members of the other sex.
The 25 people represent just 0.0012 percent of the 2.1 million soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in the active and reserve military. That transgender percentage is just one person among every 84,000 servicemembers.
The Pentagon report also noted that only 388 military members — or 0.0184 percent of the military — are taking opposite-sex hormones. That percentage is just one person among every 5,400 servicemembers.
The data was released in a courtroom-ready 44-page study which explains the Pentagon’s decision to deep-six Obama’s pro-transgender rules. Those rules allowed soldiers to declare they have an opposite-sex “gender identity,” and then change their “gender marker” in military personnel records. This process would have allowed service members to flip their legal sex in the military without undergoing any surgery, largely eliminating the military’s biology-based legal distinctions between male and female in fitness tests, shared housing, sexual privacy, deployment rules and combat expectations.
The new Pentagon policy discards the “Gender Identity” rule and revives the normal reliance on biology to determine a person’s sex, saying the military favors “maintaining a bright line based on biological sex.”
In the report’s section on transgender numbers, Pentagon study said:
… of the 424 approved Service member [transgender] treatment plans available for study, 388 included cross-sex hormone treatment, but only 34 non-genital sex reassignment surgeries and one genital surgery have been completed thus far. Only 22 Service members have requested a waiver for a genital sex reassignment surgery.
This very low rate of surgery — despite the massive media coverage — is a close match to the very low rates of transgender surgery outside the military.
Only about 4,118 Americans surgically altered their bodies in hospitals from 2000 to 2014 to appear like members of the opposite sex, according to a peer-reviewed study published February 2018 by the Journal of the American Medical Association. In percentage terms, the 4,118 people who underwent surgery is just 0.0013 percent of the 320 million people who live in the United States, according to the study. The JAMA report notes that roughly one-quarter of the estimated 4,118 people who underwent the surgeries recorded in the study did not have surgery on their genitals.
The Pentagon report slammed the vague guidelines pushed by transgender activists about who should be classified as male or female:
The concept of gender transition is so nebulous, however, that drawing any line — except perhaps at a full sex reassignment surgery — would be arbitrary, not to mention at odds with current medical practice, which allows for a wide range of individualized treatment. In any event, [national] rates for genital surgery are exceedingly low — 2% of [female] transgender men and 10% of [male] transgender women. Only up to 25% of surveyed transgender persons report having had some form of transition-related surgery [such as breast reduction or facial cosmetic surgery]. The RAND study estimated that such rates “are typically only around 20 percent, with the exception of chest surgery among female-to-male transgender individuals” …
Low rates of full sex reassignment surgery and the otherwise wide variation of transition-related treatment, with all the challenges that entails for privacy, fairness, and safety, weigh in favor of maintaining a bright line based on biological sex — not gender identity … After all, a person’s biological sex is generally ascertainable through objective means. Moreover, this approach will ensure that biologically-based standards will be applied uniformly to all Service members of the same biological sex. Standards that are clear, coherent, objective, consistent, predictable, and uniformly applied enhance good order, discipline, steady leadership, and unit cohesion, which in turn, ensure military effectiveness and lethality.
The endorsement of a “bright line based on biological sex” is anathema to the transgender movement, which was hoping that Obama’s rules would help them persuade judges to blur the legal and civic distinctions between male and female.
Transgender activists want each person’s legal sex to be determined by their personal but unverifiable feeling of “gender identity,” not by their verifiable biology or genitalia. This focus on “gender identity” means that a person can be legally male in the morning and legally female in the afternoon.
If implemented via courtrooms or legislatures, the “gender identity” rule will make it practically impossible to maintain single-sex sports competitions, community awards, civic associations or even single-sex showers and bathrooms, or to tailor education and cultural events for boys or girls.
Conservative and feminist groups, however, endorse the Pentagon’s bright line policy because it recognizes the distinctions between the equal, different and complementary priorities, capabilities and preferences held by men and women.
In public debates, transgender activists prefer to play up claims about the total number of people who say they are transgender — and to downplay the number who actually undergo surgery to reshape their bodies. A 2014 study often cited by the media, for example, declared the military had a population of 15,500 transgender people but did not estimate how many took hormones or underwent surgery.
Transgender groups, however, will acknowledge the low rate of surgery when they are trying to minimize the taxpayer costs of the ideology. An August 2017 report by the pro-transgender Palm Center advocacy group acknowledged the low rate of surgeries as it sought to minimize the Pentagon’s financial costs:
Belkin estimated in 2015 that 188 transgender service members would require transition-related care (surgery and/or hormones) in any given year and that the total cost to provide such care would be $5.6 million. In 2016, RAND estimated that between 49 and 420 transgender service members would require transition-related care (surgery and/or hormones) in any given year and that the total cost to provide such care would be between $2.4 million and $8.4 million …
The transgender ideology is deeply unpopular, especially among women and parents. In 2017, Obama told NPR that his promotion of the transgender ideology made it easier for Donald Trump to win the presidency.
In practice, the transgender ideology requires women to silently accept men who claim to have a female “gender identity” in women’s bathrooms, showers, and sports clubs. It also requires parents to stand aside when their children decide to begin a lifetime of risky and self-sterilizing medical treatments to help them pretend they are members of the opposite sex.
Multiple polls show that most Americans wish to help and comfort people who think they are a member of the opposite sex, even as they also reject the transgender ideology’s claim that a person’s legal sex is determined by their feeling of “gender identity,” not by biology.
Despite the huge expense, conflict, and damage to young people, the gender ideology is rapidly gaining power, aided by huge donations from wealthy individuals and medical companies. In Ohio, for example, in February, a judge forced parents of a teenage girl to give up custody so she can begin a lifetime of drug treatments and surgery that will allow her to appear as a male. Also, officials in New York and various universities have threatened to penalize people who do not refer to men as if they are women, and several judges have declared that Pentagon officials must accept recruits who want to change their sex.
The progressive push to bend Americans’ attitudes and their male-and-female civic society around the idea of “gender identity” has already attacked and cracked many of the popular social rules which help Americans manage the cooperation and competition among and between complementary, different and equal men and women.
These pro-gender claims have an impact on different-sex bathrooms, shelters for battered women, sports leagues for girls, hiking groups for boys, K-12 curricula, university speech codes, religious freedoms, free speech, the social status of women, parents’ rights in childrearing, practices to help teenagers, health outcomes, women’s expectations of beauty, culture and civic society, scientific research, prison safety, civic ceremonies, school rules, men’s sense of masculinity, law enforcement, and children’s sexual privacy.