Monday, March 26, 2018

Family Research Council sets a standard for lying in explaining trans troop ban

The Family Research Council bent over backwards to obscure how its president, Tony Perkins, helped to develop a new ban on trans troops.

As to be expected, the Family Research Council posted a Washington Update celebrating Trump's newest attempt to ban transgender troops from serving in the military. And of course, the update is a piece of deluded trip which deliberately obscured that the fact that FRC president Tony Perkins was one of the folks who played a part in drafting this monstrosity of a policy.

Also, FRC seems to be deluding itself in terms of what is known about this newest ban. You can read the entire thing, but here is the meat of FRC's distortion:

Under the memo released Friday, both Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielson signed their names to a 40-page document that will help free our military from the radical grip of the Obama years. Building on the GOP platform he swore to uphold, the president took a strong and decisive step away from the uncertainty that Ash Carter injected into the military when he tore down the barriers to transgender service. "Military standards are high for a reason," Secretary Mattis wrote in the report, "the trauma of war, which all service members must be prepared to face, demands physical, mental, and moral standards that will give all service members the greatest chance to survive their ordeal with their bodies, minds, and moral character intact. The Department would be negligent to sacrifice those standards for any cause."

In the new policy, people who identify as transgender, but who haven't been formally diagnosed with "gender dysphoria" and have not undergone a "gender transition" are free to serve or join the military -- with one catch: they must serve as their biological sex. On the other hand, anyone with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria (which the Pentagon defines as someone who requires "substantial medical treatment, including through medical drugs or surgery") are barred from the military, except under limited circumstances. While there are certain caveats, including when a person entered the military and in what state of transition, the administration's decision sends a powerful message that the days of reckless social engineering in the military are over.

After digging into the science and the instability Obama's policy created, Mattis and his team were more convinced than ever that letting this type of gender chaos into the military presents a "considerable risk" to its "effectiveness and lethality." And they had more than enough evidence to back it up. The memo does a great job dismantling the flawed RAND study that former Secretary Ash Carter used to prop up Obama's move. DOD insists that RAND "mischaracterizes or overstates the reports on which it rests its conclusions" (p. 39). "In fact," officials write, "the RAND study itself repeatedly emphasized the lack of quality data on these issues and qualified its conclusions accordingly" -- a fact the last administration never bothered to mention.

The Defense Department also takes Carter's regime to task, explaining that they found several instances where "standards were adjusted or relaxed to accommodate service by transgender persons" (p. 19) -- which is somewhat ironic, given the Left's insistence on "equality." To bend the rules and justify their decision, Carter's team had to ignore stacks of research from their own ranks. For example, people who suffer from "gender dysphoria" in the military are eight times more likely to commit suicide (p. 21) and nine times more likely to have negative "mental health encounters." And while the taxpayer-funded treatments go on, their service peers are the ones left picking up the slack. "To access recruits with higher rates of anticipated unavailability for deployment thrusts a heavier burden on those who would deploy more often" (p. 27). While Democrats like Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) fire off angry tweets, arguing that the president's position "cuts directly across the drive for equality," DOD points out just how mistaken they are. If any policy was unfair, it was Obama's! As Defense officials point out, if a service member had to have genital reconstruction surgery because of a traumatic combat injury, they would have been disqualified from military service without a waiver. But if someone decided to change sexes because they were struggling with their identity, their waiver would be granted (p. 28). That's how twisted Obama's agenda was -- rewarding service members with mental struggles on one hand and punishing hurting heroes on the other.

As we all know, the memo in question was NOT developed by Mattis or the Department of Defense.  Mattis was actually for transgender men and women serving in the military. He advocated this position in February. What changed?

He was overruled by Vice President Mike Pence. It was also Pence who assembled an ad hoc committee to create a justification for the ban, according to The Slate:

 . . . a “panel of experts” has been crafting a report, also released on Friday, designed to provide pretextual justification for Trump’s ban. According to multiple sources, Vice President Mike Pence played a leading role in the creation of this report, along with Ryan Anderson, an anti-trans activist, and Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ lobbying group. Mattis actually supports open transgender service, but he was effectively overruled by Pence, and chose not to spend his limited political capital further defending trans troops. In a memo released on Friday, Mattis encouraged Trump to ban transgender people from enlisting in the military, and to discharge those service members who wish to transition. Trump has now formally adopted these suggestions.

According to ThinkProgress, Pence's committee actually worked separately from the group Mattis assembled to look at the issue. Pence's committee also used junk science and cherry-picked science and ignored legitimate medical opinions in its attempt to justify the ban. The following is just one of the distortions ThinkProgress found:
Nowhere does the report even mention that every major medical organization in the U.S. has arrived at a consensus that transgender people should be affirmed in their gender identities and supported in their transitions. The American Medical Association has even explicitly expressed support for lifting the military’s ban on transgender service. The report likewise makes no mention of the widely-used standards of care developed by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), which recognize the benefits of affirmative care.

As has become inevitable in just about every attempt to justify anti-trans discrimination . . . the study also wildly distorts studies about the suicidality of transgender people.

“High rates of suicide ideation, attempts, and completion among people who are transgender are also well documented in the medical literature,” the report asserts. It cites an analysis of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), which found that 41 percent of trans people had attempted suicide at some point in their life. It also cites a Swedish study, which the report claims found mortality and psychiatric hospitalization for patients who had undergone sex reassignment surgery as compared to a healthy control group.”

What the report downplays is the context of both studies. The NTDS study found significant connections between the high suicide rate and anti-trans discrimination, including factors such as racial stigma, poverty, unemployment, having less education, how easily they were perceived as trans, homelessness, bullying and violence, family rejection, and health care discrimination.

Likewise, the Swedish study did not find significantly higher suicide rates in transgender people who underwent surgery after 1989. Its author, Cecilia Dhejne, explained in an interview that the older group’s experience “likely reflects a time when trans health and psychological care was less effective and social stigma was far worse,” emphasizing that transition “won’t resolve the effects of crushing social oppression.” She has repeatedly rebuked those who use the study to justify rejecting the legitimacy of transgender identities.

All I can say is that I'm amazed. Granted, I'm not surprised with how the Family Research Council attempted to obscure the role of its president in developing this newest ban. But it takes a downright evil and shameless group to tell such an elaborate lie even in the face of the fact that so many people are aware of the truth.

1 comment:

Frank said...

What I don't get is "Why do they care?" Why do they care so much about LGBTs that they devote their entire lives and careers to destroy our lives and liberties? How does our existence impact their lives? How do transpersons in the military effect them? If anything, they should be grateful for us all, because if we and all our LGBT "ancestors" all disappeared tomorrow or never existed (as I'm sure they'd prefer) they might not have much art or beauty or music or literature or many of the other goods and services that they take for granted. Just wait till they get to the nursing home!