In a world of conquests and ideological terrorism, a nation is just as strong as its military. Our military is needed more than ever, and the well-being of veterans is essential. But President Obama has never cared about the stability of the U.S. military, as is evident by his demeaning attitude and his anti-military policies, including his latest act to repeal a regulation on transgendered individuals in the military effective July 1st.
I had never truly understood the severity of having transgendered individuals in the military until after I began interviewing U.S. servicemen and women and veterans. I noticed many of them felt neglected and somewhat alienated by the Obama administration, and felt like they were hopelessly fighting on behalf of a cause resented in the current anti-military climate. Some of my California classmates who were in active duty were even discreet about their work, for fear that they would be hated for fighting on behalf of the U.S. military.
Liz was a classmate whose emotional story of sacrifice for her country had a significant impact on me. She had suffered multiple psychological traumas during her time in combat and after finally returning from Afghanistan to be with her fiance, was told she could no longer have children because of what her body had endured in combat. Her life was over in her eyes, and she broke up with her fiance as a result, deciding she was destined to be alone forever. This was a tough pill to swallow for her traditional family members, who had always envisioned her with a future family at a young age and whose wishes she had earlier dismissed by joining the military.
What made this all worse, Liz told me, was that she felt her own administration did not have her back in her mission to protect her country. President Obama did not seem to care about her or her comrades the way George W. Bush had. Marshall Roe, a U.S. Navy veteran, echoed her sentiments to me last week. He expressed his thoughts on the transgender bill being repealed and its effects on the military, a measure he referred to as a “social experiment” by the Obama administration.
Not only is allowing transgendered and transsexual individuals in the military a serious threat to the individuals themselves, Marshall pointed out, it is detrimental to the people working alongside them, the military, federal resources and its mission.
Transgendered people are among the most susceptible to suicide in the country. A 2011 survey by the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS) found 41% of transgender people had attempted suicide in the U.S., compared with the mere 4.6% average national attempted suicide rate. A survey by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America found 30% of U.S. veterans have considered suicide, and 45% said they know an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has attempted suicide.
Transgender veterans are found to have the highest rates of mental health problems in the U.S., data show. A 2016 study found 90% of military members who identify as transgender were diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder, and almost 50% were hospitalized after attempting or considering suicide.
Combining these two severe suicide risk factors for the sake of a political statement on “gender fluidity” would not only be irresponsible, it would be downright cruel. It is cruel to the individuals themselves; it is cruel to the dedicated men and women who will have to eat, sleep, shower, train, and fight alongside them day and night. It is cruel to the military, which will have to add debt to its already large cost of mental health and training resources, and risk the lives of its healthy active members just because it had to welcome the gender dysphoric in its ranks. It is cruel to the stability of the mission of the U.S. military to fight and protect this nation.
The U.S. military has had mental health qualifications for prospective deployment for this very reason. It is no wonder army officials are dismayed at the President’s latest measure.
Not only have progressive Democrats neglected to address these issues; they have worked tirelessly to help relieve liability by redefining transgenderism. After the American Psychological Association (APA) introduced gender identity disorder to the DSM-III (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in 1980, social justice activists complained the term “disorder” stigmatized transgenderism despite that it met scientists’ “generally accepted criteria” for a DSM-III-classified disorder. By 2013, the disorder was relabeled “gender dysphoria” in DSM-V for the purpose of “remov[ing] the connotation that the patient is ‘disordered.’”
The paradox here is crystal clear: if transgenderism is not an endocrinological or psychological disorder then it should be treated as such, and the military should not have to pay for sex-reassignment surgery because it becomes a cosmetic and not medical procedure. Gender dysphoric individuals should not have to receive special treatment and extra funding and exceptional mental health resources from the military because after all, they are not ill.
But since the decision to integrate these individuals into the military has less to do with science or common sense than it does with a progressive political lobbying measure, the paradox here becomes irrelevant. Healthy male and female service members will be forced to serve alongside heavily at-risk service members in already tedious missions, and the military will be forced to risk the lives of its servicemen and the entire country by deploying the most psychologically at-risk class of individuals in the country.
I will never forget Liz, Marshall, and the other dedicated men and women who have risked their futures for the sake of this great country. These people deserve our respect, our collective support, and at the very least, to not be treated like mere pawns in a political leftist social experiment.
The sooner we acknowledge that, the stronger we become as a nation.
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