- - Wednesday, July 26, 2017


President Trump reversed his predecessor’s foolishly sentimental policy on Wednesday that opened the military services to transgender soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. He reversed it because it was the right thing to do.

“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,” Mr. Trump said.

“Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [men and women] in the military would entail.”

That earlier policy, opening the ranks to those with “gender dysphoria,” the psychiatric term for confusion about sexual identity, was decreed a year ago by Ash Carter, then the secretary of Defense, by administrative fiat and without congressional approval. In like fashion, Mr. Trump reversed it.

Also reversed was a policy enabling the recruiting of the transgendered. James Mattis, the new secretary of Defense, had postponed transgender recruiting for further study, and the president’s order makes that moot.

Mr. Trump’s decision pleased many senior military officers who were reluctant to say so under the previous administration, and was a deserved rebuke to two dozen liberal Republicans in the House, whose votes July 13 helped defeat, by 5 votes, an amendment that would have eliminated a requirement that the Defense Department pay for sex-change surgeries and hormone therapies.

More than 100 high-ranking retired military officers and other conservatives sent an open letter to Mr. Trump in June urging Mr. Trump to repeal the Obama transgender schemes. They observed that transgender recruits are likely to require costly medical, surgical and psychological care that would undermine readiness by rendering these members of the military services “nondeployable.”

The signers noted that the Defense Department would have had to “bear the cost of hormone treatments, surgery, and post-operative care to facilitate ‘gender transitioning.’ ” Potentially more problematic, the signers wrote, the Obama policies were likely to impose “mandates on military medical doctors and nurses to approve, provide or participate in life-altering transgender treatment or surgeries” over their objections on medical-ethics grounds or religious convictions.

There’s no “right” to serve in the military, for transgenders or anyone else. Many physical and mental conditions bar serving in the military, ranging from flat feet to diabetes to peanut allergies.

Estimates vary widely on the number of transgender troops among the 1.3 million men and women in uniform, ranging from 2,500 by the Rand Corp. to 15,000 by one LGBT advocacy organization.

Whatever the number, it’s vanishingly small.

Congressional Democrats, few of whom have served in the armed forces but who are reflexively devoted to advancing the LGBT agenda, reacted angrily to the Trump order. But the president, who promised during the campaign to protect the rights of the transgendered, has done so. He has a further responsibility to protect the military services so as to enable them to do their duty to protect the country.

Those among us who are confused or dissatisfied with their sexual birthright deserve sympathy and understanding, but not at the expense of others. Some of us — the ailing, the physically and psychologically handicapped, the aged — are beyond answering the call to arms. There’s no stigma to that. The military cannot be a laboratory for social experimentation. It has one duty only, to protect the nation, and nothing must hinder the execution of that duty.

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