Recently, President Trump told the military to discontinue Barack Obama’s proposal allowing transgendered individuals to be recruited into the military. And, right on queue, came screams of bigotry and discrimination. Shocking.
My only concern regarding the transgender ban is that any obligations already made be honored. This is non-negotiable to me. If we make a promise to a servicemember, we must uphold it. period.
The politicians and media can fight over the specific rule and whether it is discrimination or not.
We the people will once again be the adults and have the necessary discussion – whether the military is strengthened or weakened by the integration or ban of transgendered service members.
The only thing that matters in the military is that our squads are the best they can possibly be.
A couple years ago, there was controversy over another military integration proposal. It was the question of whether women could be in combat roles.
As a man, putting women into combat roles makes me uneasy. It feels morally wrong to knowingly put a woman in harm’s way. Whether it is my toxic masculinity, my white privilege, my male privilege, or my cis privilege, something feels morallyÂ wrong.
But feelings alone aren’t enough to pass a judgment. Facts don’t care about my feelings, either. So let’s look at some facts.
There was a yearlong comparison between an all-male and mixed male and female units. It looked at varying situations that could occur in combat and assessed the effectiveness of both groups.
From NPR’s article summarizing the study, “all-male squads performed better than mixed groups in 69 percent of the tasks evaluated.” It also showed that men had more speed, more lethality, and were less prone to injuries.
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The full study also stated that “all-male squads, teams and crews and gender-integrated squads, teams, and crews had a noticeable difference in their performance of the basic combat tasks of negotiating obstacles and evacuating casualties.”
They continue, “during casualty evacuation assessments, there were notable differences in execution times between all-male and gender-integrated groups” with the exception of “casualty evacuation as a one-Marine fireman’s carry of another (in which case it was most often a male Marine who “evacuated” the casualty).”
Feel free to look through the study yourself and see what you find.
While this is just one study, it doesn’t ease my concern. This study gives reason to doubt the effectiveness of gender-integrated combat units. I can only imagine the effectiveness of a gender-integrated combat unit where some of the men identify as women and women identify as men. How do you even study that?
How do you even study that? Are male-to-female transgenders counted as females and vice versa? If every female in the previous study was a male-to-female transgender, they would still have had the benefits of increased testosterone levels. It would be an absolute nightmare to figure out.
To pretend none of this matters, that the ends of equality justify the means, is objectively immoral. One small mistake and someone can die. If our combat units are slightly less efficient than they could be, more lives will be lost. One is too many.
Until a change in the makeup of our military services is shown to be as effective or more effective than an all-male squad, then I support prohibiting it. (Note: Defense Secretary Mattis has postponed the “transgender ban” pending studies for implementation.)
Call it discrimination, I don’t care. Call me a bigot, I don’t care. I’ll gladly trade being called names if it will save just one life.
This isn’t a matter of personal opinion on transgenderism or feminism. It isÂ literal life and death.
The battlefield is not the place for social experimentation. The risks are too high and the reward of good feelings can never outweigh the risk of losing another American in war.
If we knowingly send out a sub par combat unit, then we are leaving Americans behind before they even see an enemy.
And we don’t leave anyone behind.
To all those who serve in our military, thank you.