SUNYLGBTQ2AI MATTERS

A space for sharing stories, ideas, and concerns for the SUNY LGBTQ2AI community.

What Other Countries Can Teach America About Transgender Military Service

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“During last Thursday’s Republican debates, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took a moment to explain the true function of the U.S. armed forces. “The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. … The purpose is to protect America,” he declared. At odds with this vision is the idea of allowing transgender troops to serve openly—a goal Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced in July, when he ordered a six-month study aimed at lifting the current ban. “I’m not sure how paying for transgender surgery for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines makes our country safer,” Huckabee added, though host Bret Baier had not, in fact, asked whether the military should fund the troops’ transition.

“Huckabee, who is a fan of reinstating the repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and has previously made ugly comments about trans people, probably isn’t interested in some of the more prosaic reasons a military should strive for open LGBTQ service: to live up to the core values of dignity, integrity, and respect; to reflect the diversity of the country it serves; to bring its long-outdated medical standards up to date; or to recognize that there is “no compelling medical reason for the ban,” according to a report from a commission co-chaired by former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. So let’s just assume that his main concern is that the armed services are prepared to kill people and break things.”

Read More: Rachel E. Gross

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