Cut funding for sex change operations in the military


Aaron Tam and Helen Le

Pres. Donald Trump’s announcement of the blanket transgender military ban on July 26 understandably provoked outrage across America. Any person who is willing and able should be allowed to serve in the military — emphasis on able.

Just because someone is transgender does not mean they are unfit for the military. Those who do not suffer from gender dysphoria and do not require provisions based on their identity should be allowed to serve as others can.

“As long as being a transgender isn’t affecting their job and duty, they should be in the military,” senior Javier Ibarra said. “But if they can’t properly do their job because they are transgender, I can imagine why [the military] would ban them since it’s the military and they need to get their stuff done.”

Unfortunately, transgender people who do not have high-cost medical needs are the minority. For those who do suffer from gender dysphoria, common symptoms include anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies.

According to a national transgender discrimination survey conducted by members of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law, 46 percent and 42 percent of transgender men and women respectively had attempted suicide, compared to the 4.6 percent of the general U.S. population. The U.S. military already suffers from a higher than average suicide rate among its general population. Mix a traumatizing military experience and PTSD with uncertainty about one’s own identity, and the risk grows even higher.

If someone who sleepwalks after the age of 13 can’t serve, then someone with a mental disorder should not be allowed to serve, either.

Those who do suffer from gender dysphoria have the option to undergo operations and hormonal therapies during their time in the U.S. military have full military healthcare coverage of any necessary procedures, including transitional surgery that can cost anywhere from $89,000 to $132,000. No other employer pays for this operation besides the U.S. government for prisoners.

Hormones that go missing also result in unstable moods that can pose a risk to the disciplined military environment. This risk is the same reason for the disqualification of those who are not mentally sound, such as those with bipolar disorder.

In July, Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler attempted to pass an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have blocked funding for sex change surgeries and other related procedures within the military. The bill failed in the House of Representatives 214-209.

Hartzler’s amendment is the solution: cut funding for hormonal therapies and sex change operations from military healthcare coverage. Transgender soldiers have the right to serve in the army, but — just like those incarcerated — they should not have the privilege of undergoing all their sex change procedures at the expense of taxpayers. At the same time, transgender people should still be able to volunteer to serve their nation when they pass the same tests as their soldiers-in-arms do, because this country’s military is dependent on the very type of people who fight for freedom for all.