A military recruit who was allegedly forced to shower with and sleep alongside two trans-identifying men considered resigning after the situation caused her significant distress, according to a Republican senator.
Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) said during a congressional hearing last week that he was alerted to the situation by the attorney general of the South Dakota National Guard.
“A young woman in the South Dakota National Guard experienced a situation at basic training where she was sleeping in open bays and showering with biological males who had not had gender reassignment surgery but were documented as females because they had begun the drug therapy process,” Rounds said at the July 11 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.
Rounds said the anonymous 18-year-old recruit was “uncomfortable with her situation but had limited options on how to deal with it.”
“If she raised her hand, she feared she’d be targeted for retaliation,” Rounds said. “She could have recycled, which would have delayed her freshman college start and would not have provided a guarantee of a different situation. She could request to leave the Guard for religious purposes and not be able to pursue her dream of serving our country.”
The committee met for the confirmation hearing of General Charles “CQ” Brown Jr., President Joe Biden’s pick for Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. Rounds asked Brown how he would handle “challenging” situations like this.
“If confirmed as the chairman, how do you propose to handle situations like this, which I truly believe may be impacting recruitment and morale by placing a disproportionate emphasis on gender-related ideology?” Rounds asked.
“Senator, one of the things I’ve thought about throughout my career, as you’re being inclusive, you also don’t want to make other individuals uncomfortable,” Brown responded, adding that as the military gets feedback like this, “we have to take a look to see if we can improve on how we approach situations like this.”
The Justice Department said in a statement that the recruit should raise her concerns with her superiors.
“DoD policy is that all Service members must be treated with dignity and respect. We would encourage any troop who’s feeling uncomfortable or has concerns about privacy in shared spaces to work through their chain of command. Commanders may employ reasonable accommodations to respect the privacy interests of Service members,” the Pentagon said in a statement to Fox News.
The Army, Navy, and Air Force have all said they expect to miss their recruiting goals by thousands this year.
Over the last few years, the dismal recruitment numbers have prompted the military to develop colorful campaigns to boost recruitment.
Last year, the U.S. Navy hired “Harpy Daniels,” an active-duty sailor and drag queen who identifies as non-binary, to be the face of the Navy’s campaign to fight dropping recruitment.
In 2021, the U.S. Army released a series of cartoon recruitment ads saturated with themes like advocating for LGBT issues just days after the CIA caught flack for a similarly woke recruitment ad campaign. One of the Army’s video ads featured an LGBT rights march and a lesbian wedding.