WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Defense has released a statement outlining its intent to lift the Pentagon’s ban on transgenders serving the military.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced on Monday that a six-month study will be conducted to determine whether lifting the ban could have any adverse effect on battle preparedness.
“The Defense Department’s current regulations regarding transgender service members are outdated and are causing uncertainty that distracts commanders from our core missions,” he said in a statement. “At a time when our troops have learned from experience that the most important qualification for service members should be whether they’re able and willing to do their job, our officers and enlisted personnel are faced with certain rules that tell them the opposite.”
The study will be led by Undersecretary Brad Carson, and will encompass a variety of aspects, such as how transgenders will be housed, what uniforms they will wear, what bathrooms they will use, and what physical fitness/training standards they will be held to as a person that now seeks to be known as the opposite gender. The military will also consider whether it will pay for the “gender reassignment” surgeries and other treatments sought by those who identify as transgender.
But Christian groups are expressing concern over the proposed changes, including the Washington-based Family Research Council. It released a statement on Monday outlining that it is urging the Pentagon to keep the policy in place, pointing to the American Psychological Association’s classification of trangerderism as “gender dysphoria.”
“Considering the abysmal condition of our military and a decline in readiness, why is this a top priority for the Obama administration?” asked retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, the council’s executive vice president. “The Pentagon must answer whether this proposed policy makes our military more capable of performing its mission. The answer is a very clear and resounding no.”
He opined that it is wrong for Obama to push his personal agendas on the military and potentially cause harm to troop morale.
“This has everything to do with President Obama’s social agenda for the military, but it has nothing to do with enhancing military readiness,” Boykin stated. “No new science has led to the Pentagon’ transgender study—only the politics of the Obama administration and the transgender movement.”
“Allowing the Obama administration to use the military as a tool of social re-engineering will only undermine morale, unit cohesion, and readiness. It’s time that we allow the military to focus on its only job—defending our country against its enemies,” he said.
As previously reported, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates advocated for the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy throughout his five-year tenure, which banned open homosexuality in the Armed Forces. The policy was officially repealed in September 2011 under the Obama administration. Gates currently serves as the president of the Boy Scouts of America.