Why Gender Dysphoria Must Remain a Bar to Military Service

The Heritage Foundation | 2/25/2019 | Staff
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In normal usage, “discrimination” is an ugly word.

But discrimination has two meanings. The first and more familiar definition is “the treatment of a person or particular group of people differently, in a way that is worse than the way people are usually treated.” Discrimination of that sort is clearly unacceptable.

Usage - Ability - Quality - Something - Difference

The second, less common usage is the “the ability to judge the quality of something, based on its difference from other, similar things.”

Earlier this month, several members of Congress introduced a bill to allow transgender individuals to serve in the military. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., one of the bill’s sponsors, said in introducing the bill, “President Trump’s ban on transgender service members is discrimination. It undermines our military readiness, and it is an insult to the brave and patriotic transgender Americans who choose to serve in our military.”

Members - Congress - Sponsors - Bill—and - American

What members of Congress like the sponsors of this bill—and indeed, the American public—often seem not to grasp is that discrimination—the less common meaning of the word—takes place every day at military recruiting stations across America.

That’s neither unjust, nor prejudicial. And contrary to Gillibrand, who aspires to be our next commander in chief, it’s necessary to ensure the readiness of the military and protect at-risk individuals.

Examples - Order - Disorder - Sorry - Torn

Some examples are in order. Have asthma? You’re probably ineligible to join the military. A depressive disorder? Sorry, no. Torn rotator cuff in your shoulder? Nope. Come back perhaps when it heals or is repaired.

It’s the difference between an individual who is able to serve, and those for whom service presents a risk—either of not being able to complete military service or of doing so without incurring harm to themselves. In a strict sense, that’s discrimination.

Law - Military - Individuals - People

By law, the military can accept only “qualified, effective and able-bodied individuals.” That means people who are expected to need more than...
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