Harvard Study: Military Should Embrace Openly Transgendered Troops

August 16, 2013 - 3:30 PM

transgender
(CNSNews.com) – A study soon to be published by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s  LGBTQ Policy Journal is recommending “additional changes to military policies in order to allow transgender people to serve openly and with honor.”

The study is just one of a slew of research projects undertaken by academics in an attempt to pressure the U.S. Armed Services into allowing individuals who do not currently qualify to serve under the military medical code to join their ranks.

Individuals with certain “psychosexual conditions”- including “transsexualism, exhibitionism, transvestism, voyeurism, and other paraphilias” – are currently banned from military service, and can be dishonorably discharged if their sexual proclivities are discovered.

Last month, the Chicago-based Palm Center’s Transgender Military Initiative announced it was commissioning 11 studies in a $1.35 million, multi-year project with the specific aim to “inform an important public conversation by providing facts and evidence about how the U.S. armed forces could include transgender troops without undermining readiness…”

But the danger of allowing people with “psychosexual conditions” access to classified information was highlighted in the recent trial of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was convicted of espionage for leaking thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks.

A photo of Manning wearing makeup and a blonde wig, which was attached to emails sent to Manning’s supervisor and therapist entitled “My Problem,” was submitted as evidence by Army prosecutors. “I don’t know what to do anymore, and the only ‘help’ that seems available is severe punishment and/or getting rid of me,”  the email said.

Manning again referred to his gender issues when apologizing for his conduct on the last day of his sentencing hearing.

“I’m sorry I hurt people. I’m sorry I hurt the United States. At the time of the decision, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues, issues that are ongoing,” Manning, who faces up to 90 years in prison, said. “Although a considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions.”

The slippery slope from the military's acceptance of openly gay service members to standing down when it comes to cross-dressers was predicted in 2011, when the Obama administration abandoned the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy put in place in 1993 under the Clinton administration.

“With homosexuals now able to serve openly in the military, the gay rights movement’s next battleground is to persuade the Obama administration to end the armed forces’ ‘ban on transgenders,’ a group that includes transsexuals and cross-dressers,” a 2011 Washington Times editorial predicted.

The Harvard study, entitled “Still Serving in Silence,”is based on a 2008 survey of 6,456 self-described “transgender and gender nonconforming people in the United States, the largest survey sample to date.” (See still_serving_in_silence.pdf)

It was authored by Jack Harrison-Quintana, who described himself as ‘a queer Latino activist,” and Jody Herman, “the Peter J. Cooper Public Policy Fellow and Manager of Transgender Research at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.”

Noting that that Obama administration’s 2011 repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy “did not end the prohibition on transgender military service,” they quote an earlier study by former Air Force psychologist George Brown, who analyzed data from five million service personnel and found that “the prevalence of male-to-female transgender people in the military is twice that of the general population.”

So many transgendered individuals joined the military knowing the ban was in place.

Brown described the lure of military service for anatomic males who believe they are really females as “a flight into hypermasculinity… an attempt to ‘correct’ or repress feelings of incongruence of sex assigned at birth and gender identity.”

In “The Pentagon’s Transgender Problem,” published Aug.15 in Mother Jones, Adam Klasfeld and Brett Brownell point out that suicides by veterans reached an all-time high last year, exceeding the total combat deaths in Afghanistan for the third time in four years.

They also noted that “transgender veterans are 20 times more likely to commit suicide.”