For many years, there has been controversial stances regarding African-Americans, women, LGB members, and now transgenders given entry into the United States military service. Since this transition between genders may not be accepted by all, an overwhelming amount of discrimination has been evident when the thought of a transgender person serving our country is brought up. Being that the U.S. military is a 100% voluntary service, everybody has the right to join, no matter what race, ethnicity or gender you identify as.
Many U.S. citizens are not aware what the term transgender means. Transgender refers to someone who does not identify as the same sex that they were assigned at birth (usni.org). For example, an individual who was assigned female at birth, now goes by the pronouns he/him and identifies as a male. Many U.S. citizens also do not understand that this action is not a choice, and that people experiencing this identification switch seem to have been born into the incorrect bodies. Easily mistaken as emotional instability, The American Psychiatric Association makes it clear that “gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder”, but instead, studies have shown that the transgender brains resemble more closely to the gender identified as, rather than the gender assigned at birth (usni.org). Clearly, all of these misconceptions of transgender persons can corrupt or influence one’s decision on whether or not they believe transgenders should be granted military service.
If a transgender person is ready, willing and capable of doing the job, why shouldn’t they be granted access into the U.S. military? Not including the United States, there are 18 running countries who allow transgender persons to serve in the military (usni.org). According to the RAND Corporation Study of 2016, studies have shown that around 2,000 to 11,000 transgender military personnel have already served in demanding jobs and have been deployed overseas (nytimes.com). Regarding the transgenders that are already serving for the military, Army, Marine, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard leaders have informed Congress that they have yet to see any issues with their transgender troops (nytimes.org). After interviews with superior military personnel, their statements should be enough to sway your opinion all together. General Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, stated, “As long as they can meet the standard of what their particular occupation was, I think we’ll move forward” (nytimes.com). While Captain J. Caputo of the United States Coast Guard preached, “Any person with a male body must meet male service standards; anyone with a female body must meet female standards. Transgender persons who can meet the standards of their physical body are fit for service” (usni.org). Additionally, despite the fact that transgenders serve without problems in police and fire departments, along with federal law enforcement, studies have shown that “…transgender individuals are about twice as likely as adults in the U.S. to have served their country in the armed forces” (Williams Institute). While reading this, you might be saying what about the stress that transgenders are exposed to? On top of the personal issues they might have, will they be able to fully function in a military setting where tension is evident? To counter this argument, regulations have been put into place requiring proof of mental and physical stability for 18 months prior to enlisting, along with a civilian doctor’s certification confirming that transition is complete and will not limit one’s ability to serve (nytimes.org). As it can be seen, on the topic of capability and readiness, transgenders are more than fit to serve with the proper documentation and determination.
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