PEN­TAGON IS­SUES HAND­BOOK ON SEX CHANGE IN THE RANKS

The Washington Times Weekly - - Geopolitics -

Po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness re­mains a cen­tral char­ac­ter­is­tic of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s poli­cies. Take the Pen­tagon’s new anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion pol­icy on what a newly-pub­lished hand­book calls “gen­der dys­pho­ria,” or “the dis­tress that some trans­gen­der in­di­vid­u­als ex­pe­ri­ence due to a mis­match be­tween their gen­der and their sex as­signed at birth.”

Un­der the new poli­cies, mil­i­tary com­man­ders are now re­spon­si­ble for ap­prov­ing or deny­ing sex changes for troops who self-iden­tify as the op­po­site sex, ac­cord­ing to the 72-page hand­book, “Trans­gen­der Ser­vice in the U.S. Mil­i­tary: An Im­ple­men­ta­tion Hand­book,” pub­lished Sept. 30.

“The com­man­der, in­formed by the rec­om­men­da­tions of the [mil­i­tary med­i­cal provider], the [ser­vice cen­tral co­or­di­na­tion cells], and oth­ers, as ap­pro­pri­ate, will re­spond to the re­quest to tran­si­tion gen­der while en­sur­ing readi­ness by min­i­miz­ing im­pacts to the mis­sion (in­clud­ing de­ploy­ment, op­er­a­tions, train­ing, ex­er­cise sched­ules, and crit­i­cal skills avail­abil­ity), as well as to the morale and wel­fare and good or­der and dis­ci­pline of the com­mand,” the hand­book states.

The hand­book is the re­sult of a Pen­tagon pol­icy adopted in July that per­mits troops who self-iden­tify as the op­po­site sex while serv­ing openly in the ranks. In the past, such cross-dressers were lim­ited by the “don’t ask, don’t tell” pol­icy of hid­ing sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

The new pol­icy is con­tro­ver­sial. Sci­en­tists say sex is de­ter­mined by chro­mo­somes at birth and can­not be al­tered by hor­mones or surgery, re­gard­less of whether a per­son self-iden­ti­fies as the op­po­site sex. Crit­ics say the ad­min­is­tra­tion is seek­ing to politi­cize the armed forces by im­pos­ing new sex poli­cies as part of lib­eral social en­gi­neer­ing ef­forts within the tra­di­tion­ally con­ser­va­tive mil­i­tary.

The re­port con­tains “tips for com­man­ders” from the Aus­tralian air force di­ver­sity hand­book that in­clude pro­tect­ing the pri­vacy of trans­gen­der ser­vice mem­bers and con­sult­ing chap­lains, be­hav­ioral health per­son­nel and med­i­cal providers in deal­ing with trans­gen­der peo­ple. Also, com­man­ders are to “en­sure bul­ly­ing, ha­rass­ment, haz­ing or any other un­ac­cept­able be­hav­ior is not tol­er­ated.”

In re­sponse to con­cerns about show­er­ing, the use of toi­lets and other shared space, com­man­ders “may em­ploy rea­son­able ac­com­mo­da­tions, such as in­stalling shower cur­tains and plac­ing towel and cloth­ing hooks in­side in­di­vid­ual shower stalls, to re­spect the pri­vacy in­ter­ests of ser­vice mem­bers,” the hand­book states.

Mil­i­tary lead­ers also are urged to avoid up­set­ting trans­gen­der troops.

“In cases where ac­com­mo­da­tions are not prac­ti­ca­ble, you may au­tho­rize al­ter­na­tive mea­sures to re­spect per­sonal pri­vacy, such as ad­just­ments to tim­ing of the use of shower or chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties,” the hand­book says. “This should be done with the in­tent of avoid­ing any stig­ma­tiz­ing im­pact to any ser­vice mem­ber.”

Mil­i­tary mem­bers are told in the hand­book not make as­sump­tions about sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and to “speak up” when ser­vice mem­bers “are ex­press­ing opin­ions that may alien­ate oth­ers.”

Proper use of pro­nouns like “he” or “she,” “him” or “her,” in con­ver­sa­tions is now re­quired. “You should be sen­si­tive to the use of pro­nouns when ad­dress­ing oth­ers,” the hand­book says. “This will vary by in­di­vid­ual and unit. If there is ever any ques­tion about pro­noun us­age, do not hes­i­tate to ask the ser­vice mem­ber how they wish to be ad­dressed.”

Social tran­si­tion for trans­gen­der peo­ple in the mil­i­tary can also in­volve the un­usual prac­tice of iden­ti­fy­ing a ser­vice mem­ber by male or fe­male at dif­fer­ent times of the day.

“Social tran­si­tion, in the mil­i­tary con­text, will gen­er­ally en­com­pass liv­ing in the pre­ferred gen­der af­ter duty hours,” the hand­book stated. “You may en­counter a sit­u­a­tion where you know a ser­vice mem­ber by one name dur­ing duty hours and an­other af­ter duty hours; this all de­pends on the in­di­vid­ual’s tran­si­tion.”

Med­i­cal treat­ment can in­clude be­hav­ioral health care, the use of hor­mones that may change phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance, and surgery.

Re­tired Army of­fi­cer Robert Magin­nis, a critic of the new pol­icy, said the hand­book un­der­mines the readi­ness of the mil­i­tary and should anger Amer­i­cans over the mis­use of scarce mil­i­tary re­sources on po­lit­i­cally cor­rect poli­cies. Mil­i­tary medicine un­der Pres­i­dent Obama is now about meet­ing in­di­vid­ual de­sires, not con­tribut­ing to com­bat readi­ness, he said.

“This pol­icy forces the mil­i­tary to de­flect valu­able re­sources bet­ter spent on im­prov­ing the readi­ness of the force to fo­cus on the men­tal and emo­tional well-be­ing of any­one who wishes to serve,” Mr. Magin­nis said. “This is a very dan­ger­ous path to pur­sue for the armed forces and Amer­ica.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Mil­i­tary com­man­ders are re­spon­si­ble for ap­prov­ing or deny­ing sex changes for troops who self-iden­tify as the op­po­site sex, ac­cord­ing to the 72-page hand­book, “Trans­gen­der Ser­vice in the U.S. Mil­i­tary: An Im­ple­men­ta­tion Hand­book,” pub­lished Sept. 30.

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