WASHINGTON, D.C., February 25, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A draft memorandum uncovered by USA Today suggests that the U.S. Army may soon make it more difficult to discharge soldiers who consider themselves transgender, a move reminiscent of policy changes made during the lead-up to the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy on homosexuality.
Currently, gender dysphoria – more commonly referred to as “transgenderism” – is considered a psychosexual disorder by the U.S. military and is grounds for being dismissed from service.
While decisions to discharge transgender soldiers are currently made by officers in the field, according to the unsigned memo obtained by USA Today, such decisions will soon have to be approved by a civilian appointed by the president: the assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs.
“The official that would be given authority to decide these cases is, in effect, a political appointee who will impose President Obama's LGBT agenda on military men and women who would be directly affected,” Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, told LifeSiteNews. “By regulation, transgender persons are not eligible for military service, so this administrative order cannot be justified.”
Donnelly said accommodation of transsexuals – which often means permitting biological males to share the restroom, shower and sleeping facilities of females, and vice-versa – could prove not only disruptive, but dangerous in a military setting.
“[R]egulations regarding transgender [soldiers]…should not be disregarded or circumvented as a political payoff to the President's LGBT constituency,” Donnelly told LifeSiteNews. “Even with medical therapy, hormones, and even surgery, a person's biological makeup and DNA remain the same. Accommodating biologically male persons in the private quarters of military women would be inherently disruptive and demoralizing — consequences that affect military readiness.”
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The Army has so far refused to comment on the authenticity of the document obtained by USA Today, but such a move would closely mirror similar actions taken immediately prior to the 2011 repeal of DADT. In 2010, the Pentagon twice increased the difficulty with which military commanders could expel troops who engaged in homosexual activity, first requiring a general or flag officer’s approval, and later requiring approval of the service branch secretary under the guidance of the Department of Defense general counsel and the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, another civilian presidential political appointment.
Donnelly questioned the validity of the proposed rule change, and told LifeSiteNews she believes the Obama administration is engaging in “a replay of the incremental strategy” it used five years ago to forcibly integrate openly practicing homosexuals into the military.
The alleged memo also comes on the heels of a controversial reversal of Armed Forces policy toward Bradley “Chelsea” Manning, a former soldier currently serving a 35-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth military prison for leaking more than 700,000 classified documents. Manning came out as transgender the day after his 2013 sentencing and has mounted a legal crusade to force the Army to transfer him to a women’s prison, call him by female pronouns, allow him to dress as a woman, and pay for a sex change procedure.
The Army initially refused to indulge Manning’s demands, but on February 5 agreed to begin providing hormone treatments at taxpayer expense to begin his “transition” to living as a female.
Some observers have speculated that the decision could set a precedent for future accommodation of active duty transgender troops, should the military drop its ban on their service.
“It would be wrong to expect military health care providers to participate in highly-controversial medical treatments and therapies to alter ‘gender identity,” Donnelly said. “Transgender persons can serve our country in other ways, but they are not eligible to serve in the military.”