On June 30, hours before the policy took effect, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis postponed the opening of military enlistments to transgender people for an additional six months. The delay does not prevent currently serving soldiers from transitioning, however. It is intended to give the joint chiefs more time to review and mitigate the Obama-era rule’s impact on the “readiness and lethality of our [armed] forces.”
Late into President Obama’s last term, his military officials allowed transgender soldiers to serve openly, even funding gender-change surgeries with taxpayer dollars. Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter set a July 1 deadline for all four military branches to write policies for accepting openly transgender enlistments. Formerly, soldiers exhibiting gender dysphoria were automatically discharged.
While the Pentagon’s review takes place behind closed doors and the inevitable culture-war volleys spill into the public square, it is critical to understand the real-life implications of the policy shift. I recently received a copy of the new “Tier Three Transgender Training” materials—a PowerPointand accompanying lesson plan excerpted below, with full documents at these links—that the Army is now using in mandatory training for all soldiers. The active-duty officer who sent the materials completed the training with 40 other soldiers last week instead of conducting their morning physical training as usual.
Military As Social Engineering, Not National Defense
The force-wide presentation sheds quite a bit of light on the implications of the rule change on transgender service members. The policy prioritizes subjective feelings over combat-readiness and inverts military order by placing the needs of individuals over the well-being of their units.
The policy allows transgender soldiers to switch their “gender marker” in the Army’s personnel database without undergoing sex reassignment surgery or any other physical changes.
For a soldier to officially change gender requires only some paperwork. A military doctor or civilian medical professional must certify that the transgender person has achieved “stability in the preferred gender” and the soldier must change the gender designation on the soldier’s passport or birth certificate. From that point on, the transgender soldier is “expected to adhere to all military standards associated with their gender,” and “use the billeting, bathroom and shower facilities” of their new gender.
For example, “Vignette Four” of the training module presents the following scenario: “following her transition from male to female (which did not include sex reassignment surgery) and gender marker change in DEERS [DEERS is the military’s personnel database], a transgender Soldier begins using female barracks, bathroom and shower facilities. Because she did not undergo a surgical change, the Soldier still has male genitalia.”
How should troops respond? “Soldiers must accept living and working conditions that are often austere, primitive, and characterized by little or no privacy.”
More from the famed “racial tourettes” and armchair science of the racist white men who seem to be very fond of Asian women and use their Asian wives as proof that they cannot be racist – all the while being extremely racist. White men who pursue Asian women oftentimes are “race realists” who feel wronged at the embracing of blacks and other minorities, and use Asian women as a way to reproduce with a “suitable alternative” to white women (who they feel as being too liberal).
This author, Daniel G. Freedman, actually goes so far as to be open about his belief in racial differences, and published a paper on it; he even includes the differences between Caucasian and Chinese babies.
White supremacists aren’t the only group of people who oppose mixed-race relationships. Writing for the Univision-owned feminist website Jezebel, Aditi Natasha Kini says she’s “tired of watching brown men fall in love with white women onscreen.”
Angered by the appearance of non-white men who get into on-screen romances with white women in TV shows and movies, the Jezebel writer says that she was upset at how brown women in the new film, “The Big Sick,” played second string to their white counterparts.
“I also found myself exhausted, yet again, by the onscreen depiction of a brown man wanting to date a white woman, while brown women are portrayed alternately as caricatures, stereotypes, inconsequential, and/or the butts of a joke,” writes Kini.
The Jezebel writer’s complaints are only half-correct, in that Asian men have regularly been depicted as loveless men who struggle to earn the attention of women, but rarely attain their romantic goals with white women — or anyone else, for that matter.
There is a long history in Hollywood movies and TV shows depicting Asian men, like Kumail Nanjiani, as sexually unappealing or unable to “get the girl.”
Movies like “Fast and Furious 6” broke racial barriers with the on-screen romance of characters played by Israeli actress Gal Gadot and Korean actor Sung Kang. Likewise, the TV show “The Walking Dead” featured a romance between Lauren Cohan and Steven Yeun, which lasted several seasons. “Homeland” is filled with interracial relationships between Arabic men and white women — one of whom radicalizes her partner in a twist of expectations, eventually causing his death.
The Jezebel writer argues that while it’s progress to see Asian men getting the girl for once, and for Asian men to finally be cast in leading roles instead of supporting ones, she claims that the medium centers “white women as the love interest – a concept which, in the complex hierarchy of power and race in America, pays lip-service to the one notion that has shaped the history of South Asian and American culture alike: Whiteness as the ultimate desire, the highest goal in defining oneself as American.”
The argument is an ahistorical view that erases the existence of non-white female leads in movies like the 2002 James Bond movie “Die Another Day,” featuring Halle Berry; the 1996 Arnold Schwarzenegger film “Eraser,” starring Vanessa Williams; and “The Bodyguard” in 1992, which starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.
The comedy-drama series “Ugly Betty,” which starred America Ferrera, had a successful four-year run in the late 2000s. More recently, The Office’s Mindy Kaling, who is of South Asian descent, has her own highly successful comedy TV series called “The Mindy Project.”
The Jezebel writer concludes her argument by saying that interracial relationships depicted on-screen are “classic white liberal nonsense” because these transgressive depictions are fashioned as a “gold standard” for “progress.”