January 26, 2021

EOs Regarding Transgender Rights

“President Joe Biden signed an order Monday reversing a Trump-era Pentagon policy that largely barred transgender individuals from serving in the military.” AP News

“An executive order signed by Democratic President Joe Biden during his first day in office [prohibits] discrimination based on gender identity in school sports and elsewhere.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left is supportive of both policies.

“[The Trump administration] tried to argue in court that the policy was not a ‘ban,’ per se, since it allowed trans troops to serve — but only if they publicly committed to not transitioning. But a ban on transitioning is effectively a ban on trans people themselves

“Though Trump noted the alleged cost of transition-related medical care in justifying his ban on trans troops, according to a 2016 RAND Corporation report, the military would need just $2.4 million to $8.4 million per year to pay for transition-related care, an increase of 0.4 to 0.13 percent in health care spending. The military spends five times that amount on Viagra alone.”
Katelyn Burns, Vox

“Roughly 15,000 transgender people served in the military under Obama’s policies. Trump’s decision to reverse these rules was motivated by the politics of prejudice, and he did not even warn the Pentagon in advance of his tweet. Transgender service had no effect on military readiness or unit cohesion and received widespread support among Americans. Former military leaders condemned the ban, as did congressional Democrats and even some powerful Republicans. The chief of staff of the Army, chief of naval operations, commandant of the Marine Corps, and chief of staff of the Air Force testified before Congress that transgender military service had no deleterious effects…  

“Biden’s executive order marks the second time the new president has taken sweeping action to safeguard the rights of LGBTQ people. Last week he directed federal agencies to expand more than 100 civil rights laws to outlaw anti-LGBTQ discrimination in housing, health care, education, immigration, and more. Yet Monday’s order remains vulnerable to reversal at the hands of a future president unless it is enshrined into federal law. Biden must work with Congress if he wants to stop the next Republican president from targeting trans troops for political gain. For now, though, he has made it clear that transgender people are fully welcome in the armed forces as long as he remains commander in chief.”
Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

“As on a number of issues, here conservatives often use practical arguments when the real source of their position is moral. In this case, they say that allowing transgender troops will hurt ‘readiness,’ when there’s absolutely no evidence it does. As the experience of the end of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the ban on gay service members showed (and before that the end of racial segregation), while plenty of people in uniform have unwelcoming views, as a whole the institution is quite good at adapting to that kind of change without harm to its ability to function…

“No, the real problem many social conservatives have is that they have a strict and hidebound perspective on matters of gender and sexuality, and to them the idea that people can even be transgender just seems wrong. So they tend to oppose any expansion of rights for trans people, because it will lead to greater acceptance and a society that continues to move away from their view of who people ought to be and how things ought to work…

“Liberals can say to them: We hear you. We understand why this is upsetting to you. We’re not trying to disrespect you. But we’re doing it anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.
Paul Waldman, Washington Post

Dated but relevant: Regarding sports, “many courts have concluded (often on the basis of constitutional sex discrimination prohibitions) that when a school sport is not offered to a particular sex, a student from a different sex must be allowed to participate. Indeed, as to many sports, the Title IX regulations explicitly endorse such an approach. Courts have rejected essentialist arguments claiming that cisgender girls are incapable of participating in sports with boys. If female students must be allowed to participate on a traditionally all-male football team, transgender students must be permitted to compete in accordance with their gender identity…

“[Furthermore, the] emphasis on victory ignores that the purpose of Title IX was to create opportunities for women—all women—and that the overriding goal of scholastic athletics is not winning championships but fostering physical ability, social interaction, mental health, and teamwork among young students. The developmental benefits of athletic participation are acutely important for vulnerable groups, such as transgender students, who already face tremendous barriers in terms of social recognition and feelings of isolation.”
Scott Skinner-Thompson, Slate

From the Right

The right is critical of both policies.

The right is critical of both policies.

“The existing policy—that of former President Donald Trump and then-Defense Secretary James Mattis—allowed transgender individuals to serve, provided they did not suffer from a condition called gender dysphoria… [Biden’s order ignores] the important distinction between those transgender individuals who suffer from gender dysphoria and those who don’t. Gender dysphoria is a medically recognized psychological condition…

“[A Defense Department study] found individuals with gender dysphoria experience severe anxiety at between eight and nine times the rate of individuals without gender dysphoria. What’s more, the report found no evidence that medical treatment, including gender-reassignment surgery, reliably remedies gender dysphoria…

“Military service is inherently stressful. Military suicide rates already exceed the U.S. average. Exposing individuals already predisposed to mental injury—such as those with gender dysphoria—would be immoral and simultaneously present a clear risk to military readiness. For that reason, Mattis enacted a nuanced policy that allowed service by transgender individuals free from gender dysphoria.”
Thomas Spoehr, Daily Signal

Regarding sports, “In contests of strength and speed, the athletic chasm between the sexes, which opens at puberty, is both permanent and unbridgeable. Once male puberty is complete, testosterone suppression doesn’t undo the biological advantages men possess: larger hearts, lungs and bones, greater bone density, more-oxygenated blood, more fast-twitch muscle fiber and vastly greater muscle mass…

“It should be no surprise, then, that the two trans-identified biological males permitted to compete in Connecticut state track finals against girls—neither of whom was a top sprinter as a boy—consistently claimed top spots competing as girls. They eliminated girls from advancement to regional championships, scouting and scholarship opportunities and trophies, and they set records no girl may ever equal…

“How big is this performance gap? To take one example cited by the Connecticut female runners in their complaint against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, the fastest female sprinter in the world is American runner Allyson Felix, a woman with more gold medals than Usain Bolt. Her lifetime best for the 400-meter run is 49.26 seconds. Based on 2018 data, nearly 300 high-school boys in the U.S. alone could beat it.”
Abigail Shrier, Wall Street Journal

“We’ve already seen cases, in high school and college track and field, where males have dominated female running events. That means girls who trained hard for years to compete and win against other girls were denied their spot on the stand—or even in the race itself. Imagine if it were your daughter who didn’t medal or failed to qualify because a boy beat her. Or who missed out on a college scholarship that was awarded instead to a male athlete…

“I have nothing against transgender people. If a guy wants to self-identify as a gal, as far as I’m concerned, that’s his business. This is America, where you can live your life any way you want as long as you don’t infringe on anyone else’s rights. The problem is, requiring females to compete against males DOES infringe on the rights of the former, negating their efforts and unfairly denying them opportunities.”
Rob Jenkins, Townhall

“Fairness aside, this is dangerous. Recall that thanks to his male strength, trans MMA fighter Fallon Fox cracked a female opponent’s skull in 2014. Girls need more suggestions like Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s ‘Protect Women’s Sports Act of 2020,’ which proposed clarifying that Title IX compliance ‘be determined on the basis of biological sex as determined at birth by a physician.’ Biden’s order only lays the groundwork for more accidents.”
Ramona Tausz, New York Post

“Let’s be clear about what this means in reality: boys who identify as girls could soon be able to use girls' locker rooms, even if girls using those facilities feel uncomfortable about that… The very laws that were established to protect the rights of girls to single sex toilets, changing rooms and sports could soon be turned upside down by presidential decree. Legislation that was intended to protect the rights of girls to single-sex provision could now make single-sex services impossible.”
Debbie Hayton, Spectator USA

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