Controversy of Transgenders in the Military

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Transgender people in the military

Transgender people are people who are born with the anatomies of their opposite sex and, as a result, always feel as if they are in the wrong body (Lombardi et al. 89-92). A normal female who feels like a male, for example, may ultimately opt for sex reassignment surgery. The contentious question of having or not having transgender people in the military seems to have reached a climax in the Trump administration, which announced its position on these people serving in the military. The debate has been taken by scholars and researchers in the military sector to find out the positive and the negative effects of the transgender people in the military. However, the final stand to be taken should not be guided by stereotypes but rather grounded on subjectivity and total rationality.

Policy changes on transgender people in the military

In September 2011, the US military abolished a policy abbreviated as DADT which stood for _x0091_Do not Ask, Do not Tell_x0094_ (Bilimoria & Stewart, 100-103). The move allowed the lesbian, gay and bisexual people to serve in the force in an open manner. However, these special groups received discriminatory services and could be excluded on the military_x0092_s policies on health. The exclusions were backed up with the argument of the members suffering from psychosexual disorders. Later on, it became paramount for the transgenders to disclose their gender status before joining the army (Ross 185). Affected individuals already recruited in the military could be medically discharged in case they were suspected to be transgenders. A recent study on the number of transgenders serving in the army revealed that the number is more than 15 000 solders. Besides, a greater number of transgenders is expected to be found in the reserve and the guard service. The debate on the effectiveness of the transgenders serving in the military was later on sparked by President Donald Trump on one of his tweets (Kerrigan, 500). An enormous controversy was thereafter triggered with some citizens criticizing his ideas while other people were satisfied with the firm stand taken.

Controversy surrounding transgender inclusion in the military

After the tweets on transgenders in the military, the president issued an order to reverse a ruling passed in 2016 on the people serving openly in the US military. The decision marked a reversal of the policy enacted during the Obama administration. The Pentagon did not know how to effectively respond to the demand. James Mattis even made the remark that he was waiting for the White House to communicate in the best way that he was to proceed in executing the order (Sheppard 22). The Pentagon was later given six months to come up with a sound policy and implementation plan to deal with the transgenders who were already serving in the military force. Those transgenders already serving in the army would however not be removed, but the Secretary of Defense was assigned the role of ensuring the military cohesion and readiness as well ensuring that the military was efficiently and effectively utilizing the resources it was assigned.

Arguments for and against transgender inclusion in the military

Among the people opposed to the discriminative rule on the transgenders were the attorneys in the Department of Justice who immediately came up with a lawsuit that was against the presidential stand. The ban was thus regarded as being _x0093_premature several times over_x0092_ (Bockting & Eli 56-59). The attorneys further faulted the president for not coming up with sound policies to protect this minor group from losing their jobs. Army Eric Fanning who had served under the Obama administration also argued that the presidential decision was discriminatory and likely to harm the transgenders as they offer valuable services like the protection of the territorial sovereignty and integrity. Fanning had been one of the key policymakers in the Pentagon working group that aimed at assessing the impacts of having transgenders serve openly in the military.

Besides Fanning, other opposers of the transgenders_x0092_ ban have argued that the focus should be placed on the readiness and the ability to perform. The Americans willing to serve in the military should, therefore, be celebrated regardless of the gender. Another group that argued against the ban was the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) that filed a lawsuit in Washington in August 2017 (Vitulli 78-82). Due to this mounting pressure and the analysis of the argument brought out on the importance of concentrating more on the talent to serve in the army, president Donald Trump retracted his controversial sentiments and announced a policy change. A study carried out by the NTDS to establish the effect of transgender on the input in the military revealed that the characteristics of the transgenders could not bar them from optimum performance (Vitulli 84).

Concerns and counter-arguments

The debate on the need to ban the transgenders had key proponents arguing that the denying them the service in the army was not a sign of inequality. Transgender people are accused of eroding the morale in the military because they are a representation of the mentally deranged people who imagine themselves being of a different gender (Bilimoria & Stewart, 105). Respect and confidence in the armed forces is key in ensuring that tasks are carried out in the right manner. However, opponents of transgender services argue that combat troops should not have leaders who are not confident enough about their gender because of the possible devastating repercussions in the battle (Sheppard 23). Having such a leader, therefore, results in the decline in morale and reduce the chances of emerging victorious in a battle.

Besides, opponents of the transgenders inclusion also argue that the military should be free from social experimentation. They believe that transgenderism is a disorder and the military should be free from the mentally ill persons who with a possible or an ongoing medical treatment that requires a close attention. Besides, there are other scholars who argue that political correctedness ids will not win the battle in the military (Bockting & Eli 89). Even with the last move by the president to reconsider the order, there are still some agitate members who believe that transgenders should keep off the matters of national security. Opposers have even raised more important issues on the inclusion of the transgenders in the military. Some scholars have argued that having more transgenders will make any country wishing to engage in a war with the US to wish that it is constituted of more transgenders.


Analyzing the arguments and the counter-arguments reveals that each side is making sense in the allegations put forward. However, there is a great need to arrive at a convincing situation that is satisfactory to the involved societal members. The mission of the military should also be underscored. Weighing the two aspects reveals the dilemma that the nation is in with the final decision required to move the country forward. The constitution, being the most superior document that guides the best ways to ensure equality in the nation should always be respected. All citizens should be granted all their rights and their security needs addressed. Those transgenders that serve in the army should, however, learn the importance of openness, dedication, and discipline in the armed forces. Opponents of the transgender equality should understand that the decision of excluding some members on the basis of their gender is wrong and is based on intolerance, gender inequality and to an extent, bigotry.

Conclusively, President Trump_x0092_s decision seem to be based on better reasons hence the reversal of the previous ruling. Being one of the influential leaders behind controlling the transgenders recruitment in the military to reverse a stand proves that the opponents are somehow overpowered. As long as one is in a position to effectively serve in the military, then gender should not be an issue to determine the possibility of being recruited to protect the country. Other nations in the world have conducted researches and have arrived a conclusion of employing the transgenders, something that the strongest nation in the world is yet to decide. Besides, if the transgenders seem to be very affected by their condition, they can be laid off from work because confidence and leadership skills call for a confident and a focused person. The debate that has made this conclusion to be reached is of great value not only to the US but also other nations in the world that might find themselves in the same situation in the future.

Works Cited

Bilimoria, Diana, and Abigail J. Stewart. "" Don't ask, don't tell": The academic climate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender faculty in science and engineering." NWSA Journal 21.2 (2009): 85-103.

Bockting, Walter O., and Eli Coleman. "Developmental stages of the transgender coming out process: Toward an integrated identity." Principles of transgender medicine and surgery (2007): 185-208.

Kerrigan, Matthew F. "Transgender discrimination in the military: The new don't ask, don't tell." Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 18.3 (2012): 500.

Lombardi, Emilia L., et al. "Gender violence: Transgender experiences with violence and discrimination." Journal of homosexuality 42.1 (2002): 89-101.

Ross, Allison. "The invisible army: Why the military needs to rescind its ban on transgender service members." S. Cal. Interdisc. LJ 23 (2014): 185.

Sheppard, Barry. "Threat of new war spotlights Trump's authoritarian agenda." Green Left Weekly 1149 (2017): 22.

Vitulli, Elias. "A defining moment in civil rights history? The employment non-discrimination act, trans-inclusion, and homonormativity." Sexuality Research and Social Policy 7.3 (2010): 155-167.

October 19, 2022

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