From left: Army Col. (Ret.) Suzanne Wheeler, Army Col. (Ret.) Sheri Swokowski, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann, Marine Corps Maj. (Ret.) Kimberly Morris, and Air Force Maj. Bryan (Bree) Fram outside the U.S. Capitol, December 6, 2017. Photo credit: Jason Arrol/NCTE
The matter of transgender people serving in the military is a conundrum for everyone concerned, but more so the transgender community, who chooses to enlist. The question is why enlist in the military when it is the most defined and disciplined ‘employer’ in United States; meaning there is a strong chain-of-command with little or no ‘wiggle’ room for interpretation of rules.
Herein lies a part of the problem…how then does the military allow for the interpretation of gender when the gender is blurred? How does the military interpret placement for the transgender population? Albeit, their service is stellar and their ranking as officers – tops. It would be a shame for our military to be deprived of individuals who are intelligent and can make a difference. Perhaps, the military is such a place for them, and the tradeoff is worth the pain.
To go a little further, it was believed the military, or taxpayers would pay for the gender-reassignment, and that would be a reason to negate their enlistments, and conversely a reason to enlist. But as the story continues to unfold, this is not necessarily the case, despite Chelsea Manning’s surgery / transitioning that was paid for by the military. Now, under this current trend all transgender individuals must prove at least 18 months prior to enlisting of progressive stability by a doctor, in order to enlist.
“Under those guidelines, applicants will be allowed to join if a medical provider certifies that they have been stable without “clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning” for 18 months,” cites Elizabeth Laughlin, ABC NEW.
This includes cross-sex hormone therapy and reconstruction surgery. The video below is a testimonial from those in the military service and their various experiences. After watching the video, the question is, “did it change your mind as to their plight or condition? Did it make you think about their service to our country, or did it make you question, “Why enlist?”
By Sharla Esparza