During the day, James of the United States Marine Corps engages in typical male training exercises while on and off duty. By night, James dresses up in a tight skirt and heels and goes clubbing in town. Throughout the past, people’s sexual orientation and gender identity have had a complex relationship in the military. During Clinton’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy in 1993, it has been widely disparaged for its discriminatory quality, leading its repealment by Obama. Now, the question is once again at the forefront of the national conscience with the most recent attempt by President Donald Trump to institute a blanket ban on transgender individuals joining or remaining in the military.
According to General Joseph Dunford, a blanket ban should not be put in place for the military. He believes that “any individual who meets the physical and mental standards, and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve”. A retired transgender Colonel in the Army, Sheri Swokowski claimed that it was difficult for her to openly be a woman. Due to this, she tried to suppress herself from being her authentic self. However, her love for her country did not stop her from serving for over thirty four years. She believes that anyone who loves their nation and is willing to serve should have every right to serve, regardless of their sexual orientation or identity. However, after President Trump’s tweet hit the news, Swokowski claimed that she felt bad that Trump does not realize the struggles of a determined transgender serviceman.
Although many believe that Trump’s decision is not the right path to progression in the military, there are those who do support his plan. From many of those that support Trump’s plan believes that being transgender affects an individual’s military readiness for combat. According to Army training, “All Soldiers must use the barracks, bathroom, and shower facilities associated with their gender marker in DEERS.” Some question if transgender personnels are fit and ready to serve for the military due to their hormone surgeries and biological differences between men and women. Furthermore, although people may have the right to switch genders and still have the right to join the military if they wish to, biological differences will never change, even with the application of surgeries.
When a person makes the transition from a man to a woman or woman to a man, he or she wishes to be identified as the gender they identify as. In most cases, this also applies to military training. A transgender man may want to be put alongside with men during military training and combat. However, in this scenario, biological difference significantly matter. In a place where a person is trained to fight vigorously, biological difference must be not be overlooked. In most cases of coed training exercises, biological women usually have a more difficult time to catch up with their more physically built, male counterparts. Due to these aspects in the military, men and women should be kept separate by their biological gender.
The current status of having biological men and women separate has not been a problem since the dawn of our military. However, if both genders are mixed or if people are able to train with the gender group that they identify as, military readiness to win wars and quickly get tasks done, will slow down dramatically due to the biological differences between the sexes. However, all people should be able to join the military of the free world, regardless of their gender identity. But joining the military is no ordinary job.
Joining the military is a commitment to put life on the line for one’s country. Therefore, worrying about what bathroom one would use or who one will train with should be the last thing to worry about.
Ryan Kwon / Campbell Hall HS 11th Grade
<Ryan Kwon / Campbell Hall HS 11th Grade