Defense Secretary Jim Mattis extended transgender troop enlistment by six months to give military chiefs time to review if it would affect the “readiness or lethality” of the armed forces; he wants to make sure it will not adversely affect the ability of the armed forces to defend the nation. Dana White, the Pentagon spokeswoman, said Mattis made the determination on Friday. This decision does not affect troops already serving openly.
Several LGBT groups have hit back, including The Palm Center, saying it will “compromise military readiness” by affecting the military’s ability to recruit new soldiers.
“Members of Congress are denigrating the value of military service by transgender troops, and Service Chiefs are pressuring Secretary Mattis to continue the transgender enlistment ban despite having no new arguments or data to back up their long-discredited assertions,” said Aaron Belkin, director of the LGBT think tank Palm Center. “Stonewalling on full inclusion will, just like ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ compromise military readiness.”
“Each day that passes without the policy in place restricts the armed forces’ ability to recruit the best and the brightest, regardless of gender identity,” Human Rights Campaign (HRC) press secretary Stephen Peters said in a statement.
The original deadline had been set for July 1, 2017, by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
Mattis received a letter Friday from 16 House Democrats asking him to stay with the original deadline of Saturday.
However, Jerry Boykin, a retired Army lieutenant general and executive vice president of the Family Research Council (the LGBT hate group headed by Tony Perkins), agreed with Mattis’ decision. The FRC has very strong views on transgender individuals: “It is certainly important to have compassion for people who experience gender dysphoria. But it is hardly compassionate to encourage them to follow a course of action that not only requires denying biological realities, but also gives no realistic chance of improving their lives in the long run.”
Also, the FRC states the following on homosexuality, which it wraps up under transgender: “Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed. It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects. While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn. We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools. Attempts to join two men or two women in “marriage” constitute a radical redefinition and falsification of the institution, and FRC supports state and federal constitutional amendments to prevent such redefinition by courts or legislatures. Sympathy must be extended to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, and every effort should be made to assist such persons to overcome those attractions, as many already have.”
It seems pretty clear what Mattis’ concerns really are. Military readiness does not appear to be it.