Pentagon Shuts Down Democrats’ Demand for Transgender Military

Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King, second from right, together with other transgender military members, from left, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, Army Capt. Alivia Stehlik, Army Capt. Jennifer Peace and Navy Petty Officer Third Class Akira Wyatt, testify about their military service before a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military …
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

Top Democrat and GOP members of the House Armed Services Committee ducked and dodged when a Pentagon official said the sex of transgender soldiers is decided by their biology, not by their claimed “gender identity.”

Service members who claim to be transgender can serve if they meet military standards — but they will be treated like other members of their biological sex, said James Stewart, the acting head of personnel at the Pentagon. The policy was set by President Donald Trump in 2018, and it reversed pro-transgender policies set by former President Barack Obama.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) had invited five transgender service members to shame Stewart with their individual stories at the hearing:

I’m truly astonished by your presentation, I must say. You’ve just had the opportunity to listen to five transgender service members — 10, 15 years [in service], many of them leaders, many of them deployed multiples times — can you honestly tell us that their service is any less valuable than those of their peers?

Stewart responded, saying, “We have transgenders out there serving in their biological sex, meeting the [training and health] standards.”

The answer caused Speier to reveal she wanted the Pentagon to enforce the progressives’ political claim that people’s sex is determined by their “gender identity,” not by their biology:

So much like “don’t ask, don’t tell,” you could serve if you are transgender, but you only will be able to serve in your birth gender [biological sex]. So you are going to have to hide the fact that you are transgender. You’re not going to be able to transition [be recognized as an opposite-sex person]. That is a policy that belongs in the Dark Ages, not in a military of the 21st century.

“Transgender troops have the right to serve as their full selves,” she insisted.

Speier also tried to hide the core ideological dispute under simpler questions of fairness and therapy for individual people, saying Trump’s policy is unjustified and malicious.

Medical treatment should resolve any Pentagon concerns about “gender dysphoria,” she told Stewart, adding, “How could you possibly deny that individual the opportunity to serve if they want to? … [After medical treatment] they don’t have ‘gender dysphoria’ anymore; they’ve taken care of it.”

The transgender ideology demands that the federal government force Americans to accept the unscientific and risky claim that people can freely switch their male or female sex by simply declaring they have the “gender identity” of an opposite-sex person. If adopted by Congress or the Supreme Court, the policy would effectively outlaw Americans’ popular recognition in law and culture that the two sexes are different and complementary.

Progressives believe that radical goal will help people live free lives as autonomous individuals. But that goal will also give progressives more power and status by denying Americans the legal right to cooperatively evolve their own culture, language, manners, and communities.

That transgender ideology was temporarily boosted by Obama and is being pushed through the courts by well-funded progressive and transgender groups. The groups want the Supreme Court to declare that existing laws against sex discrimination also require Americans to agree that people can freely change their sex.

However, Trump has blocked this campaign, and has set a new Pentagon policy, which is “maintaining a bright line [between the two sexes] based on biological sex.”

Trump’s policies do allow people who want to live as members of the other sex to join the military. But his “bright line” policy effectively treats their transgender claims as personal issues, and it officially rejects Obama’s policy, which required the Pentagon to record service members’ sex by “gender identity,” not by sex.

In the hearing, Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS), the top GOP member on Speier’s subcommittee, ducked this core issue of whether the Pentagon should accept the ideology’s demand that a person’s sex is determined by his feeling of “gender identity,” not by his biology.

“The focus should remain on individuals’ capabilities rather than establish blanket policies for certain groups,” he said, adding:

It is when we put forward categorical exceptions for certain groups, we undermine our readiness … It only makes sense that any individual who can meet these standards be allowed to serve … It is all about [each person’s] readiness and deployability.

No Republican on the panel attended the hearing to stand up society’s recognition that men and women are different and complementary, and are not interchangeable.

Kelly was in a tough position because the Democrat chairman picked the witnesses, explained Elaine Donnelly, director of the Center for Military Readiness. “She gets to do what she wants … [and the witness list] was pretty loaded to one side.”

“If I were there, I would have” championed Trump’s policy of using biology, not gender identity, to record each service members’ sex, she said. “You serve in your biological sex,” she added.

The military is being targeted by Speier and other progressives because soldiers must follow orders, no matter how radical or impossible, Donnelly said. “The military is [being used as] the cutting edge of social change … [and] social engineering … because everyone must follow orders under civilian authority.”

“This is why the military is so vulnerable … [and] the president does need support in Congress,” she said. 

Media coverage of the hearing focused on the stories told by the picked, sympathetic transgender witnesses. Those stories, including ones by the Washington Post and The Hill, completely ignored the national political consequences of a Pentagon endorsement of the transgender ideology.

Progressive groups are fighting several lawsuits against the Pentagon’s policy. But they are proceeding cautiously out of fear that the Supreme Court may declare that a person’s sex is determined by his biology, not by his personal “gender identity.”

Speier’s attempt to portray the Pentagon’s transgender policy as similar to the gay-related “don’t ask, don’t tell” Pentagon policy is a reminder that progressives and judges used the Pentagon’s gradual acceptance of gay soldiers as a stepping stone toward the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling that states must endorse single-sex marriage.

However, Trump seems to be winning this battle. On January 22, the Supreme Court approved implementing Trump’s policy, pending a later hearing.

Donnelly’s Center for Military Readiness is backing Trump’s policy.

As reported by Breitbart News in March 2018, very few service members claim to be transgender:

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.

However, advocates claim that 14,700 members of the military describe themselves as transgender. A military survey estimated 8,900 self-described transgender personnel. But few people who describe themselves as transgender wish to live as members of the opposite sex, and even fewer wish to undergo cosmetic surgery.

Polls show the transgender ideology is deeply unpopular, especially among women and parents.

In 2017, Obama told National Public Radio (NPR) that his promotion of the transgender ideology made it easier for Trump to win the presidency. Multiple polls show that most Americans wish to help and comfort people who think they are members of the opposite sex, even as they also reject the transgender ideology’s claim that a person’s legal sex is determined by his feeling of “gender identity,” not by biology. A U.K. survey shows a similar mix of some sympathy for people with lopsided opposition to the ideology.

The transgender movement is diverse, so its different factions have different goals and priorities. It includes sexual liberationists, as well as progressives, plus feminists who wish to blur distinctions between the two sexes, and people who glamorize the distinctions between the two sexes. It includes high-profile children, people who are trying to live as members of the opposite sex, people trying to “detransition” back to their sex, men who demand sex from lesbians, masculine autogynephiles who say they are entitled to women’s rights, wealthy donorspoliticians, political professionals, and revenue-seeking drug companies and medical service providers.

Transgender advocates claim that two million Americans say they are transgender to a greater or lesser extent. But very few people who describe themselves as transgender undergo cosmetic surgery of the genitals. 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 pro-transgender medical study.

Yet the gender ideology is rapidly gaining power, aided by huge donations from wealthy individuals and medical companies. In February, for example, an Ohio judge forced parents of a teenage girl to give up custody so she could begin a lifetime of drug treatments and surgery that would allow her to appear as a male.

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 that 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 child-rearing, children’s safety, practices to help teenagers, health outcomes, women’s ideals of beauty, culture and civic society, scientific research, prison safety, civic ceremonies, school rules, men’s sense of masculinity, law enforcement, military culture, and children’s sexual privacy.


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