I created this blog not to comment on social or political matters, but rather to share experiences which, I hope, can be shared by others and lead to a more positive overall approach to this world. Occasionally I will break from that stride to address matters I believe to be of great importance. Some of these will be conservative stances, others more moderate. I do not subscribe to a particular party line. I believe each person ought to formulate for themselves the most logical set of beliefs and incorporate how these beliefs affect the world as a whole, prior to solidifying them.
The President, and the military, are front and center this week. After decades of specifically banning trans-gendered people from serving in the military, President Obama passed into law a bill that provided protection for, and even medical treatment to, people in the military who believe themselves to be trans-gendered. Just yesterday, President Trump reinstated the ban on the trans-gendered entering, or continuing to serve in the military.
The American Psychological Association holds that gender dysphoria is a mental illness. This is an important distinction, because the same Association is held as the standard-bearer for other ailments, diseases and illnesses that would disqualify an applicant from serving in the military. Given the vast amount of research the individuals belonging to this Association have put into the work that they publish, it raises a very fair question about how we are to approach the trans-gendered in the military; Should a person affected with an illness be allowed to bypass the application process on the grounds that it is discriminatory to do so? The follow-up questions are:
- Does the nature of the physical, mental and emotional requirements of the military provide a need for the military to restrict admission to the military based on affliction of diseases, ailments and illnesses?
- Does the military, as a government entity, have the right to be discriminatory if they believe that such afflictions negatively impact performance in such a high-stress field?
I believe that both questions need to be properly answered before we, as a populous, bring forth a suit against the government, and the President specifically. I’ve seen people in droves, on both sides of the aisle, publish their feelings on this most recent ban. I believe all of these defenses and outcries are premature. My general feeling is complicated, because there are multiple layers of privilege and benefits that are bestowed upon our military, and multiple layers of privilege and benefits that are heretofore to be revoked from a specific demographic of the United States population. Namely, the distinction of having served in the defense of our great nation, being chiefly among them. Secondly, items such as the GI Bill, bestowed upon all, and sex-change operations, bestowed upon the trans-gendered, are privileges set to be revoked from a certain group of people. These people have done nothing specifically to deserve this revocation, but stand in possession of a form of disorder, no matter which way you slice it, that is akin to color blindness, AIDS, amputation and a myriad of other disabilities or illnesses that preclude one from serving.
Initially, I believe the assessment to bar those possessing gender dysphoria from the military to be a wise one. I’ve searched my feelings on this since the announcement was made. Am I making this determination based upon hatred of a group that I seek, even subconsciously, to marginalize? Am I uninformed on the challenges that a trans-gendered person might face in the wake of a sex-change operation with regards to their capacity to discharge their duties? Am I making this decision based upon pre-formed opinions? I’m still grappling with those questions. I don’t have a solidified set of answers. But I do believe that until we address the first three questions I posed at the top of this blog, that we have a duty as citizens to uphold and support this ban. Should there be data to prove the ability of a trans-gendered person capable of discharging said duties on a level consistent with those not trans-gendered, then I believe that there ought to be some capacity in which this group of people ought to be included.
This would then raise the question about whether or not medical benefits bestowed upon armed service members or veterans should include sex-change operations. On this topic I am decidedly more conservative. I do not believe that the taxpayers of the United States ought to foot the bill for such a procedure. On this, I don’t believe data ought to be the prevailing factor. Sure, a total value should be presented to the legislature so that a quantitative value can be placed when making the decision, but I think that the government paying for sex-change operations, hormonal replacement procedures, and all other associated forms of medical services is not a wise decision.
I am trying to fathom a medical procedure that is provided for armed services members or veterans at the cost of the public treasury, but to date cannot find one. If a combat veteran is wounded in the line of fire, skin graphs, plastic surgery, prosthesis, general surgery etc. may be required in order to provide that serviceman or woman a semblance of their former selves, but this is caused by combat, not by a mental illness. There are no other mental illnesses which are treated by the government, at cost to the tax-payer, without being inflicted during battle, to my knowledge. Unless that basis of knowledge is amended by proof of pre-existing mental illnesses being treated by the government, at cost to the tax-payer, I believe we have precedent to uphold this ban and continue forward searching for the best and most capable citizens to serve our great nation. I continue to believe we have the freedoms and privileges we do as a direct result of the courage, bravery and sacrifices bestowed upon us by our incomparable military.
I look forward to getting back to topics of observed and experienced happiness, and hope we all do the same as often as humanly possible.
Yours in the Pursuit of Happiness,