Americas’s Secretary Hagel has just said in public that the U.S. military should review its transgender ban. As Hagel is Secretary of Defense, the U.S. military has just received an order. Unless, of course, he has already told them to ignore his posturing. On this subject at this time, we assume he means it. And we look forward to the process.
There are two entirely different and very difficult aspects to this simple political 15 second media sound bite. The first but by no means least of these is that at bottom, (no double entendre) “transgender” involves very expensive surgery when it gets physical, which is to say, real. Who will be handed the bill for that? Will we see young folk signing up for a tour in the military to obtain this? Should the taxpayers be on the hook for this? Perhaps Obamacare already does that, we don’t know. Then, should the ‘transgender’ soldier or sailor (marine?) waive the ultimate physical commitment, how does a physically male enlistee who claims that the facts lie, he is actually, her, to be handled in the communal living common to the services? Are we to imprison all the young males who give ‘her’ a hard time in the barracks? That could do more damage to our military than any current enemy is likely to accomplish. But these are reality-based questions, easily brushed aside by experienced politicians with media support.
There remains another, more politically serious issue than a few billion spent on transgender surgery and a few resulting lawsuits. That question is: What sanitary facilities will these new fighting men … uh, women … uh, persons, use? This is not a small question. In a military base it is difficult enough; what about in the field? There is much to consider here.
Are the surgically changed to share bathrooms with the previously, opposite sex? Or are the new ‘girls’ to join the natural boys in the shower? This is already producing court cases and legislation in places like California, where the legislature has ruled that the transgender students will choose for themselves. How will that ‘solution’ go down in the military? How will planners know how many bathrooms to provide for each gender? Should they perhaps, take a poll as to preferences before setting up a camp? Imagine the lawsuits if the planners mess up! This is clearly a very serious political issue. Some general in charge of facilities might be retired early … to take the heat off Secretary Hagel (or his boss?).
These have become very serious questions in our newly sensitive culture. But we are now, newly sensitive to such things and these issues must be a sign of progress, right? In if nothing else, billed hours for legal firms. Oh, and yes, votes for politicians. And not to forget, lesson plan design for public schools …
So Secretary Hagel’s carefully off-the-cuff remark may well carry a very large impact; even more than the research that has gone into it, if there was such. But we will wager one thing from all this: The Air Force F 35 project, now years late and billions over price, may or may not be canceled … But the needed transgender potties will be built everywhere, needed or not.