Today’s refusal of the Supreme Court to rule against this administration’s transgender ban got me to thinking about the paradoxes of military service. It wasn’t that long ago that being gay was not allowed in the military. The reasoning was somewhat along the lines of why women weren’t allowed in combat. As recently as 1948 the armed forces of the United States were segregated. African-Americans were separated from white units because they were judged inferior and likely to affect the combat readiness of our forces. In the past seventy years we have come to realize how ignorant that way of thinking was. When I served in the United States Navy in the 1970’s being gay was not an option. There were gay sailors and when they were outed they were summarily discharged dishonorably. As if one’s gender or sexuality could negatively impact the battle readiness or quality of one’s work.
Recently the current administration wants to ban transgender service members from serving. I think its ironic that a person who was unwilling to serve and went to great length to avoid military service would now take issue with the gender of the members of our military. Members of the military take and an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies foreign and domestic. Many of those who take the oath find themselves in harms way and some actually end the lives other human beings in the being true to that oath of enlistment. There is no religious or moral tradition that legitimizes murder yet that is often the result of military action. At the same time we hold members of our armed services to much higher standards than the general public. The paradox is while protecting the life of the country service members are often required to end the lives of the enemy. While that may be an expedient for a country it is hardly a moral act by anyone’s definition.
By what sophistry does this administration operate that they would deem that one’s gender determines one’s patriotism or readiness to serve the country in our armed forces. This action has done irreparable damage to the morale of our armed forces at a time when we can ill afford such an affront. I hope that this ruling is challenged and overturned in our courts.