by Dr. Carolyn McLarty
Gathering for its annual Winter Meeting last week in Washington, D.C., the Republican National Committee unanimously passed an important resolution (provided in full below) supporting President Trump’s policy regarding transgender personnel in the military.
President Trump initially tweeted his intentions on July 26th. In those tweets, he stated that “the U.S. Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve” in the military; and that the military “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs” and deployability problems that accommodating transgender people in the military entails.
At the RNC Summer Meeting in August, I first presented a supporting Resolution. However, the White House legal team was hesitant to allow the Resolution to move forward at that time because no official Order had been issued. It was promised that this could be brought up again after an official document had been filed.
That official document came in the form of a formal Memorandum filed on August 25th. The Memorandum simply directed the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to maintain or restore recruitment policies that are based on medical and military realities, not on political correctness.
Gender dysphoria and confusion about gender identity are conditions that require compassion and competent psychological care. This reality should not be minimized nor politicized, as these disorders pose a serious internal struggle that can potentially result in life changing decisions. Treatments involve high costs and impact readiness when individuals are absent from their units for many months at a time.
Obama-era implementation plans called for extensive time off for ‘real life experience’ (RLE). This meant the individual would live as a person of the opposite sex, followed by powerful hormone treatments that can degrade performance. Treatments often include expensive, irreversible surgeries with long recovery times that render a person incapable of deployment. Sadly, there is no evidence that these extraordinary measures resolve the underlying psychological problems, which include high risks of suicide.
Other less-problematic physical and psychological conditions disqualify individuals from military service. For example, claustrophobia, anorexia, and seasickness are included on long lists of psychological and physical conditions that disqualify potential recruits. Gender dysphoria ought to remain on the psychological disqualification list as well.
Keep in mind that there is no constitutional right to serve in the military, and the armed forces are not just another equal opportunity employer.
The 2016 Republican National Platform states that Republicans reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation, and that military readiness should not be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.
In August, the proposed Resolution focused on two main concerns: compromised military readiness and exorbitant medical costs. Fast forward to the present, and now there is a serious constitutional issue at stake.
Unsurprisingly, there have been lawsuits as a result of President Trump’s Memorandum, which he had every right to issue. However, federal district judges have challenged the President’s authority and usurped his command authority by issuing Preliminary Injunctions that mandate enlistment of persons who identify as transgender. This is happening for the first time ever in our nation’s history, as of January 1, 2018.
The newly approved RNC Resolution supports President Trump’s position and calls for action by the Department of Justice to stop this interference with the rights of the Commander in Chief in the military’s internal policies.
This new Resolution also addresses the two initial concerns of medical costs and deployability in addition to activist judges usurping the power of the President, and it is needed now even more than it was last August.
Recruiting transgender individuals into the U.S. Military detracts from military readiness and allows a person to take advantage of the generosity of military medical resources for potentially harmful and unethical services. These judges’ actions are an attempt to nullify the power of the Commander in Chief by setting a dangerous precedent for future decisions on military policy.
The RNC supports President Trump in focusing on sound policies for military readiness.
WHEREAS, President Donald J. Trump’s August 25, 2017, Memorandum directed the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security to continue maintaining military recruitment policies that include individuals openly identifying as transgender on the list of disqualifying psychological and physical conditions, and stipulated that DoD funds not be used for “sex- reassignment surgical procedures;”
WHEREAS, President Trump also called for a full review and revision of policies affecting transgender personnel who currently serve in the U.S. military, seeking recommendations on how to implement policy changes that are “consistent with military effectiveness and lethality, budgetary constraints, and applicable law;”
WHEREAS, Several federal district court judges have issued preliminary injunctions mandating the unprecedented enlistment of individuals identifying as transgender, starting on January 1, 2018, (for the first time in history), thereby overruling President Trump’s plans to establish different priorities;
WHEREAS, Federal courts are usurping President Trump’s command authority to determine medical enlistment standards which recognize biological realities and high costs for long-term hormone treatments or surgical procedures that detract from morale and personal readiness to deploy; and
WHEREAS, Federal judges have limited power to make policy for the military, making the issue in question here not the transgender policy alone, but who decides what the military’s policy will be; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, The Republican National Committee supports President Trump’s intent and his prerogative to strengthen our military with sound personnel policies, including physical and psychological standards for military enlistment; and
RESOLVED, The Republican National Committee earnestly encourages The Department of Justice to petition the Supreme Court for swift and appropriate action to prevent federal courts from interfering with the military’s internal policies.