Monday, May 07, 2018

Truth Comes Out

We now know the makeup of the “expert” panel that came up with the new trans military policy and it was just what we expected… all religious bigots.
New documents suggest Trump administration rigged military panel on transgender ban
It just doesn't add up.
Think Progress
By Zack Ford
May 2, 2018

The process that led to the implementation of President Trump’s transgender military ban in March is becoming clearer, thanks to a trove of new documents that shed some light on the otherwise murky closed-door dealings.

Four different lawsuits are currently challenging the ban, which was first announced in a tweet last summer and then re-issued on March 23. A ThinkProgress review of several documents included in discovery finds a massive disconnect between what was discussed in the meetings and what was ultimately recommended, reinforcing concerns that the process was rigged from the beginning — in favor of a ban.
[…]
Many of the details from the documents are redacted to block anything that might convey the panel’s “deliberative process,” i.e. the ways in which the panel used the information provided to make their determinations. The names of every guest who spoke at the meetings, as well as the “other attendees” present, were also blacked out.

What was left unredacted, however, is still revealing. Discussion at the first meeting (October 13, 2017) suggests that the military panel was divided on whether to allow trans service. Some offered positive comments about trans service members, but others expressed concerns about how “individual desires” might dictate what treatment they might receive. They seemed to believe that there should be a clear line as to what transition steps are “medically necessary” and which aren’t that could be objectively applied.
We knew intuitively that the panel was made up non-scientific panelists and that they didn’t look for anything that disproved their belief of trans servicemembers should not be in the military.

Trans servicemembers called before the panel reported…
Still, some of the panel members wrestled with understanding transgender identity, with one of the military leaders asking, “When are you not transgender anymore?” According to King, he was trying to figure out whether a person no longer needs that label if they completed all necessary medical interventions. As documented in the minutes, one of the trans service members replied, “I am no longer transgender when it is no longer relevant.”
[…]
“We were as surprised by what was said in the [final] recommendations, as a lot of other people were, because that was not our experience talking to the panel members,” Dremann said. “They seemed to realize that we had not caused any problems with the units or with our medical care.”
Medical personnel reported that…
Both groups of medical experts conveyed that allowing transgender service was the right call. Implementing a ban would hurt trans people who continue to serve in silence as well as civilians stigmatized by the ban. One medical expert also confirmed that allowing transgender transitions would “increase the lethality and readiness of the force” by “providing health care to an unserved population.”
So with all these positive testimonies you would think that they one find that there was no  problem with trans military servicemembers… Wrong!
Contrary to previous assumptions, this memo is the only final work product from the committee. Wilkie’s recommendations include:
  • Transgender people can only join the military if they serve “in their biological sex.” In other words, if they took any steps to transition (or plan to), they are forbidden from joining.
  • Transgender people who are already serving may serve openly, “but only in their biological sex and without receiving cross-sex hormone therapy or surgical transition support.” In other words, for trans people to continue serving, they have to forego transitioning and any related medical treatment.
  • A diagnosis of gender dysphoria (past or present) is disqualifying, except for those service members who came out as transgender when the ban was originally lifted.
But the real panel was run by the Vice President,
As both ThinkProgress and Slate previously reported, Vice President Pence created his own separate “working group,” which included anti-LGBTQ activists like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation. Despite rumors that the military panel and Mattis himself favored allowing transgender people to serve, it was Pence’s recommendation to ban service, sources claim, that “effectively overruled” the panel’s work. Indeed, the final recommendations directly mirror the anti-transgender talking points those conservative groups regularly use.

The court record suggests, then, that Pence’s influence was already at work when Wilkie submitted his action memo. While questions remain, that continues to be the only explanation for how a panel that only heard information affirming transgender military service arrived at the opposite conclusion.
Let’s face it the current administration hates us and will do anything to force not just us but also lesbians and gays back in to the closet and set the clock back to the 1950s.

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