Transgender decision must focus on combat readiness, not social justice
A recent column by Lisa L. Moore, a University of Texas professor of gender and women’s studies, and Paige Schilt, a UT learning specialist and author of “Queer Rock Love,” is an unconvincing attempt to legitimize service in our armed forces by transgender individuals.
Even if I were a proponent of transgender military service, I would ask myself, “couldn’t they have done better than this?” Their column features easily rebuttable half-truths and a complete lack of understanding or knowledge of military service. I do agree with their critique of President Donald Trump, who I didn’t vote for.
While the authors and I may share a disdain for the president, we are far apart on the subject of transgender service in the armed forces. I agree with Trump. My opinion is based on 24 years of military service. I am a retired Marine Vietnam veteran. My oldest son is a career Marine with four overseas tours in the war on terror. He is also the fifth consecutive generation of our family to serve overseas during wartime. I think I have some credibility and some skin in this game.
Moore and Schilt err when they write that Deborah Sampson was transgender when she assumed a false identity as Robert Shirtliff and served honorably in the Continental Army. They therefore conclude “gender variant” people served as far back as the American Revolution. However, immediately after the war, 25-yearold Sampson married Benjamin Gannett and the marriage resulted in three children.
It’s impossible to unequivocally state as the authors do that Sampson was transgender. Either way, her story is a good example of how the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy adopted by President Bill Clinton and rescinded by President Barack Obama might be worth another look.
The authors claim that “the Pentagon spends five times as much on Viagra as providing health care to transgender troops.” While likely true, it should be noted that over 90 percent of the erectile dysfunction meds prescribed are for aging military retirees and aging veterans accessing VA health care.
Their article accurately cites a 2015 survey by the National Coalition of Transgender Equality that found “40 percent of trans-identified respondents had attempted suicide during their lifetime — nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the U.S. population.” So, we should sign them up and give them a gun?
How can anyone legitimately believe that enlisting into the armed forces people who attempt suicide at a rate nine times the rate of the general population and giving them an M-16, a tank, a fighter aircraft or access to a WMD is a good idea? Is not suicide already an issue among veterans? As a combat soldier or Marine knowing that fact, would you feel confident serving with folks who are substantially more inclined to kill themselves and maybe you, and not the enemy?
The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard are not intended to be instruments of social change or social justice. They are intended to have the capability of killing, or training to kill, as many of the enemy in the most expeditious manner possible. The premise that “individual rights” or “equal opportunity” matter in this debate is bogus. No one has a right to serve in the military. When serving, individual constitutional rights take a back seat to military readiness.
There is only one consideration when deciding this issue. All that matters is: “Does this policy enhance or degrade military readiness?” I maintain it degrades it.
Some will argue that if you can qualify and meet the standards, you should be allowed to serve. In a perfect world, there’s some merit to that argument, but military service and combat are not the perfect world. They are a world in which small aberrations or mistakes caused by the lack of unit cohesiveness or low morale cost lives.
One could argue that a 60-year-old man who runs triathlons should be allowed to enlist in the Army. The military doesn’t accept 60-year-olds because, except for a few outliers, most can’t make the grade to serve.
This is not a decision that should be based on politics. It is not a decision that should be based on fairness. And it is not a decision that should be based on the opinions of professors of women’s and gender studies. It should be solely based on what option enhances — not degrades — combat capability.
We have a robust Texas economy. Thank a teacher. We have a workforce. Thank a teacher. We have a $10 billion Economic Stabilization Fund. Thank a teacher.
The Texas economy teachers have helped create has made the ESF possible. We have a covenant with Texas teachers: You work hard for low wages, six or seven days a week. You deliver Texans who can read, write and work hard. We promise you a dependable affordable retirement and health care program. Now we have the means — which teachers have helped create — to meet our fiscal promises to them. Let’s come through and thank our teachers.
Oh, additional good news: Our teachers will spend that retirement and health care money right back into our economy. It’s a win-win-win! And our teachers won’t show up at the costly emergency room or die from malnourishment.
It has become obvious since the last election cycle that we are being “ruled,” not governed, by the Republican Party here in Texas. There is little semblance of a democratic process left in our state government when it comes to the Senate.
Yes, Democratic senators are “allowed” to sit in their seats and vote — but there has been little attempt to hear and understand their side of proposed Senate legislation. Instead, we see a steamroller effect by those in control of the Senate, which squashes any dissent.
Shame on you Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and shame on you Gov. Greg Abbott, for allowing this to happen.
Thank heaven we have less demagoguery and more of a holistic view of the world outside the Capitol doors in the Texas House. It appears that Speaker Joe Straus and our elected representatives actually prefer to do the business of Texas instead of making our state a mockery of the democratic process.
The phony concern of our Texas “leaders” about the dangers lurking behind bathroom usage by transgendered people must be repudiated. These concerns are less about privacy or safety and more about ignorance, bigotry and bullies doing what they do best.
As a woman, I’m not threatened by — or concerned about — the occupants of other stalls in women’s public restrooms, nor curious about their plumbing or which position, fixture or algorithm they use to do the needful.
A person of any gender minding their business behind a closed door has far more privacy and poses far less danger to others than those standing in the open at a urinal with their privates in hand. The latter aren’t transgendered people.
San Antonio police investigate the scene where eight immigrants were found dead in an overheated tractor-trailer in a Walmart parking lot last month.