HR 4041 – Fighting for the Rights of Americans who Fight for our Country and happen to be Transgendered

HR 4041 – Fighting for the Rights of Americans who Fight for our Country and happen to be Transgendered

Mr. Trump has made it abundantly clear that he intends to revoke the right to serve in the military from Americans who are transgendered. A quick review of his statements and policy pronouncements from this past summer make this abundantly clear.

In July Mr. Trump tweeted: “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military”. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” “Thank you,” (http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/25/politics/trump-transgender-military/index.html).

And in late August (8/25/17) Mr. Trump wrote a memorandum for the Secretary of Defense noting that in his judgment President Obama did not have sufficient evidence to overturn the prohibition of openly transgendered individuals serving in the military: “In my judgment, the previous Administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the Departments’ longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources, and there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year’s policy change would not have those negative effects,” (http://www.the-president.us/date/2017/08/25). This memorandum directed the military to halt movement towards the recruitment of transgendered individuals and notified the Department of Defense that it cannot provide any medical treatment for transgender individuals currently serving in the military. (http://www.the-president.us/date/2017/08/25, http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/25/politics/trump-transgender-military/index.html)

These pronouncements show that Mr. Trump is peeling back the rights of transgendered Americans and wants to return to an era when transgendered individuals could not serve openly in the military – in accordance with the new sentiments of our federal government, the military, as of June 2017, has imposed a six month wait time before it begins to allow openly transgendered individuals from serving, that is unless the President outright bans this (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna776131).

Needless to say, this assault on the rights of Americans is and should be opposed. 45 Senators and 15 Attorney Generals have written (separate) letters urging the Defense Secretary not to implement the ban/stating their opposition to the proposed ban of transgendered Americans serving in the military (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna787661, http://abcnews.go.com/amp/US/wireStory/15-attorneys-general-oppose-trump-transgender-military-ban-50515994). Lamda Legal and OutServe SLDN filed an injunction against the transgender ban and have filed a lawsuit on behalf of six transgendered service members and three organizations. For information on these lawsuits: https://www.lambdalegal.org/news/wa_20170914_lambda-legal-asks-court-to-halt-trans-ban, https://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/20170914_lambda-legal-asks-court-to-halt-trans-ban, https://www.outserve-sldn.org/. And now it is our turn….

H.R. 4041 has been introduced into the House and is currently being reviewed by the House Committee on Armed Services, on which Rep. Duncan Hunter sits. H.R. 4041 is neither long, complex nor complicated and bursts with common sense. It reads, minus paragraph and subsection titles, as follows, “It is the sense of Congress that individuals who are qualified and can meet the standards to serve in the military should be eligible to serve…. A currently serving member of the Armed Forces may not be involuntarily separated from the Armed Forces, or denied reenlistment or continuation in service in the Armed Forces, solely on the basis of the member’s gender identity. Nothing in this subsection relieves a member from meeting applicable military and medical standards, including deployability, or requires retention of the member in service if the member fails to meet such standards…. The Secretary of Defense shall complete the review of policy on the accession of transgender individuals into the Armed Forces announced by the Secretary on June 30, 2017, by not later than December 31, 2017….Not later than February 21, 2018, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a comprehensive report on the results of the review of policy described in paragraph (1)” (https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4041/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR+4041%22%5D%7D&r=1).

Finally, there have been multiple studies done on the impact of transgendered individuals in the military and all of the studies have found that there is no/would be no predicted negative impact:

“A 2016 Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department concluded that letting transgender people serve openly would have a “minimal impact” on readiness and health care costs, largely because there are so few in the military’s 1.3 million-member force…. The study put the number of transgender people in the military… between 1,320 and 6,630,” (http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/25/politics/trump-transgender-military/index.html); while a study done in 2014 by the Williams Institute at UCLA found that there are 150,000 transgendered Americans who either were or who had served in the US military (https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Transgender-Military-Service-May-2014.pdf).

The Rand Corp. study goes on to estimate that the military would fund, 30 – 140 new hormone treatments a year and 25 – 130 gender transition-related surgeries among active service members annually. Estimates of the costs for these procedures range from $2.4 million – $8.4 million a year. In dollars and cents this is an “exceedingly small proportion” of the military’s budget as well as the military’s total health care costs and would represent an increase to military spending of about.04 – .13% (https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1530.html).

In addition the 2016 Rand Corp. looked at past integration efforts and experiences in other countries and determined that, “Minimal Likely Impact on Force Readiness [would arise]” and specifically that “The limited research on the effects of foreign military policies indicates little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness. Commanders noted that the policies had benefits for all service members by creating a more inclusive and diverse force.” And that “Policy changes to open more roles to women and to allow gay and lesbian personnel to serve openly in the U.S. military have similarly had no significant effect on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.” (https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1530.html)

The recommendations made by the Rand Corp. are as follows “DoD [Department of Defense] should ensure strong leadership and identify and communicate the benefits of an inclusive and diverse workforce to successfully implement a policy change and successfully integrate openly serving transgender service members into the force. DoD should develop an explicit written policy on all aspects of the gender transition process to minimize any impact on service member or unit readiness. DoD should provide education and training to the rest of the force on transgender personnel policy, and it should integrate this training with other diversity-related training and education. DoD should develop and enforce a clear anti-harassment policy that addresses harassment aimed at transgender personnel alongside other targets of harassment. DoD should make subject-matter experts and gender advisers serving within military units available to commanders seeking guidance or advice on gender transition–related issues,” (https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1530.html).

The Palm Center in a 2014 report found, “Our central conclusion is that formulating and implementing inclusive policy is administratively feasible and neither excessively complex nor burdensome,” and stated “Inclusion of transgender personnel, however, is not primarily about administrative matters, but about core military values and principles: all military personnel should serve with honor and integrity, which means that they should not have to lie about who they are; all members of the military should be treated with respect; all persons capable of serving their country should be allowed to do so; and the military should not needlessly separate personnel who are willing and able to serve” (http://www.palmcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Report-of-Planning-Commission-on-Transgender-Military-Service_0-2-1.pdf).

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