First, off , let me state for the record that I am not an advocate of military service as a career choice. I did my time during the Vietnam Era with extreme grudge.
On the other hand the road to equal rights for transgender people may indeed lead through the right to equal serve our country.
And if that is the case, it is not looking good for us folk.
You might recall that last year the Obama Administration ended the military ban on transgender troops. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter issued a directive that included a July 1 deadline for the military to begin accepting new transgender recruits.
But on May 31 Deputy Defense Director Robert Work offered the leaders of our armed service a lot of wiggle room when he sent out an instruction not to to reconsider the Obama administration-era policies unless they could "cause readiness problems that could lessen our ability to fight, survive and win on the battlefield."
All of the sudden the Air Force, Army and Marines needed more time to figure out how to open their doors to transgender recruits. Like maybe a year or two. The Joint Chiefs last Friday decided that 6 months delay should be sufficient. for those services to man up.
After meetings this week, the service leaders hammered out an agreement that rejected Army and Air Force requests for a two-year wait and reflected broader concerns that a longer delay would trigger criticism on Capitol Hill, officials familiar with the talks told The Associated Press.
And now, just about the worst possible interference is set to occur. The House Armed Services Committee may step into the discussion via an amendment to the defense budget.
It’s still an important issue with regards to the state of the current force and restoring the warrior ethos, as well as conveying expectations to taxpayers.
--Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California)
Hunter has never been a friend to the LGBT community.
The Armed Services Committee is likely to consider the issue this week. There are questions on whether the services should be able to actively recruit transgender candidates, and what costs would be footed by taxpayers in the areas of therapy and realignment, as well as the existence of adequate conscience protections in the event that the policy isn’t reversed altogether. These are things that need to be addressed whether members like the topic or not.
Hunter acquired a document which outlines the training military members are to receive on how to be civil to their transgender colleagues and has been releasing bits and pieces apparently in an attempt to discredit the process.
There are estimated to be about 2,400 transgender troops in the 1.2 million active force.
It galls me that there has been absolutely no discussion of the skills that transgender recruits might bring with them if they are allowed to enlist. That appears to be irrelevant to the powers that be.