On Monday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order promoting transgender identity in the U.S. military. This represented his latest move to embrace the ideology that an amorphous gender identity supersedes biological sex. His transgender agenda threatens to undermine the military, America’s scientific and health care establishment, and women’s rights.
In a press release reversing what activists have derided as former President Donald Trump’s “transgender military ban,” the Biden administration claimed that “an inclusive force is a more effective force. Simply put, it’s the right thing to do and is in our national interest.”
Yet the Trump policy — as upheld by the Supreme Court in 2019 — does not ban people who identify as transgender from the U.S. military. Rather, it explicitly allowed “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria” to serve in certain circumstances. While it required troops to serve “in their biological sex,” it “grandfathered” in troops who identify as transgender and who served under former President Barack Obama.
Unlike Obama’s policy — and, presumably, Biden’s new policy — the Trump policy did not endorse gender identity over biological sex.
While many transgender activists have compared Trump’s “transgender military ban” to the military’s previous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy banning members of the military from openly engaging in homosexual activity, one of the key figures in the repeal of DADT explained that the transgender policy is fundamentally different from DADT.
“As one who helped bring the end to the ban on LGB military service and DADT, I am offended that a mental aberration is being compared to being a sexual human being,” Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first lesbian to be reinstated to the U.S. Army after getting kicked out for her sexuality, told PJ Media in 2019. The decision not to endorse transgender identity in the military “isn’t like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell at all,” Ben-Shalom argued.
Ben-Shalom noted that the military rejects potential recruits for many reasons and some of the medical reasons may apply to transgender identity.
She noted that the pro-transgender group Human Rights Campaign admits that “29.9 percent of females identifying as trans have tried to commit suicide, 41.8 percent of non-binary youth have tried to commit suicide, and ‘over half’ of males identifying as trans have tried.”
“That’s terrible. These people need help!” Ben-Shalom declared. “But they don’t belong in the military. Who is willing to take a chance and place a gun in the hands of a person who might want to commit suicide?”
She further argued that while “a person’s sexuality is part and parcel of what makes up that person,” transgender identity is malleable. “By using talk therapy or just letting so-called transgender kids grow up, studies indicate that up to 94 percent of these kids will grow out of their ‘transgender identity.’ So we can see that transgenderism may not be firmly part and parcel of the makeup of a human being.”
Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense at the Heritage Foundation, warned that Biden’s new policy “will contribute to a reduced level of military readiness in our armed forces, which are already hard-pressed to defend American interests around the globe.”
“After considerable study, the previous administration found gender dysphoric people attempt suicide at about nine times the rate of the general population,” Spoehr noted. “Service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria are also nine times more likely to have mental health encounters with a professional. Military service is inherently stressful. The suicide rate in the military already exceeds the general population’s. It would be immoral to place individuals at higher risk from mental injury – such as those suffering from gender dysphoria – in a situation where they are likely to experience extraordinary stress” (emphasis original).
In addition to this reversal of Trump’s military policy on transgenderism, Biden has issued an executive order banning “discrimination” on the basis of gender identity in many aspects of American society. This order requires schools to open girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, and sports leagues to biological boys. It requires health care plans to pay for experimental transgender “treatments” and requires doctors and hospitals to perform them.
Such policies destroy the fundamental rights of women in various arenas. Such a policy leaves women vulnerable to male perverts posing as transgender who may prey on them in restrooms and locker rooms. This policy destroys fair competition in women’s sports, since males have biological advantages over females that cannot be erased by simply identifying as female. Duke Law School professor Doriane Lambelet Coleman warned that if women’s sports must admit biological men, “the very best women in the world would lose to literally thousands of boys and men, including thousands who would be considered second-tier.”
Yet Biden’s transgender agenda also threatens the integrity of the science and medical establishment. Shortly before his inauguration, Biden tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine (a biological male originally named Richard Levine) for assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Levine has a questionable record on COVID-19, but his gender identity also poses a serious problem.
By placing an openly transgender person in a key health position, Biden sent a dangerous message about science and medicine.
While the condition of gender dysphoria (the persistent and painful identification with the gender opposite one’s biological sex) is real and deserves sympathy, it does not erase the fact of biological sex. Human beings are male or female down to the level of their DNA, and males and females have different biochemistry even before they are born. This different biochemistry has health implications: some drugs do not work as well for men as for women, and some drugs that help men may harm women or vice versa.
Transgenderism has already caused medical mixups, to deadly effect. In one case, a pregnant woman who identified as a man went to the hospital with abdominal pains. Because the woman’s records identified her as a man, the hospital ruled out labor and did not give her the treatment she needed, so her baby died. To make matters worse, the hospital doubled down on transgender confusion, rather than accepting the truth that medicine should depend on biological sex, not gender identity.
There is no evidence that transgender surgery improves the mental health outcomes of gender dysphoric people. Men and women who formerly identified as transgender and underwent surgery have grown to reject transgender identity and lament the damage they did to their own bodies.
Yet Joe Biden has endorsed transgender identity and activism even for children under age 10. In picking a transgender official for a health/medicine role, he has not only endorsed transgenderism in general but this dangerous ideology’s invasion of the medical field in particular.
Biden’s transgender agenda threatens to erode basic biological facts in the military, the health and science establishment, and the culture at large. His agenda threatens the safety of women’s private spaces, fairness in women’s sports, clarity in medicine, and best practices in the military. While the Biden administration touts “inclusivity,” a rush of transgender people into the military may seriously harm morale, as female troops fear abuses at the hands of ostensibly transgender men and as suicide rates may increase.
Biden has only been president for five days, and he has already rammed transgenderism down Americans’ throats. Get ready for a long and divisive four years.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.