The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Trans people being excluded from the military isn't that bad.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/27/2017 Category: News
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,082 times Debate No: 103318
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President Donald Trump just banned transgender people from joining the military. People are exploding over it, but I'm here to argue that people really shouldn't mind all that much.

The military isn't known to be inclusive, in fact I was laughing at a comment on facebook I read because (In reference to Donald Trump) someone wrote in anger, "Maybe they should exclude fat people from the military to!"

They do.

I know twin girls that wanted to join the military, they are very strong, can fight, and are working to the olympics. They are also diabetic. They cannot join the military.

I also cannot join the military due to several of my disabilities even though I have never lost a fight and come from a military family.

The military often won't let people in if they even have allergies.

The military can barely handle glasses, why are transgender people so special? I don't exactly see people screaming for disabled people to be able to join the military.

And to get too my final point, if Trump is doing this out of spite than that was the stupidest possible move, literally taking them out of a position that they would be likely to die, and quite possibly saving their life!


"You don't need to be straight to fight and die for your country. You just need to shoot straight."
-Barry Goldwater

I'll accept that debate & thank Pro for the opportunity to consider military policy regarding transgendered persons.

Let's begin by injecting more precision into Pro"s opening argument, starting with Pro"s thesis.

At heart, we are discussing a government enforced cisgenders-only discrimination order, excluding an ill-defined class of people from the full American franchise as a matter of public policy. "Isn't that bad" or "people shouldn't mind all that much" are not standards that might conceivably outweigh the equal protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, so let"s be more precise.

Pro is arguing that the US Govt should exclude transgendered people from current and future military service, I am arguing that the Govt. should never arbitrarily discriminate based only on superficial & subjective social classification. Military eligibility should be determined by objective measures of aptitude and performance rather than by a politician"s calculations for popular advantage.

Let"s correct Pro"s false statement "President Donald Trump just banned transgender people from joining the military." No such order has been given.

Yesterday, President Trump tweeted:

"[P]lease be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

As of this evening, the Pentagon Chiefs of Staff and the Dept. of Defense advise that they have received no orders from the President in this regard. The Pentagon has been preparing an assessment of such a ban"s impact on military readiness due in a few months. Sec. Of Defense Mattis has refused any such initiative without consulting the troops. We might wish to surmise that the Pentagon"s findings would not have pleased the White House, compelling Trump to act before assessing the potential risks but Politico reports today that Trump"s tweet was exclusively political.

Some GOP House members were threatening to vote against the Defense Budget (passed today) unless language was inserted to defund medical treatments specific to gender re-assignment, language opposed by Paul Ryan and the Dept. of Defense. However, the Bill also includes $1.6 billion for Trump"s Border Wall, so Trump tweeted to make it appear that such an amendment would not be necessary. The Bill passed today with no amendment, therefore medical treatment remains in place. As one GOP House aide wrote:

"This is like someone told the White House to light a candle on the table and the WH set the whole table on fire." [1]

At present, the DoD"s transgender policy remains unchanged:

"[T]ransgender Service members may serve openly, and they can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military solely for being transgender individuals." [2]

Whether Trump will actually walk the walk is an open question but his track record on making policy changes is rather dismal so far.

The Constitution almost certainly protects current soldiers from being punished by acts of discharge after having been welcomed by the previous administration [3]. The number of active duty soldiers serving as openly transgendered is estimated between 2500-15000. [1] Trump may lack the capacity to consider the harm he"s doing to US soldiers serving under his command but the generals have no such luxury.

In order to discharge these soldiers, the Pentagon will have to show cause & I doubt a tweet from the covfefe-in-chief alone will pass muster.

Nor do I expect that Pro"s argument will make a particularly compelling case. Pro"s entire case can be boiled down to this: the Military excludes some people for some reasons so why not one more?

Pro offers four circumstances subject to military restrictions: obesity, diabetes, allergies, & poor vision. In each case, Pro fails to note that these circumstances are not absolute. Each circumstance is permitted to some degree and contingent upon military readiness: the standard most generally applied to military duty.

Pro states that the US Military bans excludes fat people but 1 in every 13 soldiers serving today is clinically overweight and just being overweight won't prevent you from serving if you can complete the basic physical fitness test. [4] I doubt many generals could perform 49 push-ups in 2 mins, never mind our Commander in Chief, but they are not excluded from service- exceptions are made based on military value.

While it is true that few diabetics are permitted to enlist, hundreds of active duty soldiers develop the disease each year & most continue service so long as they can maintain their Hb1ac level below 7%. [5]

Hay fever alone won't prevent you from military service but chronic or life-threatening allergies will.

The military has very specific vision requirements that would exclude 40% of Americans but most enlistees are permitted corrective lenses or surgery to achieve those standards. Certain jobs, pilots, snipers, etc maintain much higher standards.

In each case, the determinative condition is the capacity to perform. Soldiers have to be able to see, to run & fight without an unacceptable health risk. Why shouldn't the same standard apply to transgendered folks? If a person can perform the same basic requirements applied to cisgender soldiers why can't they enlist and serve with the same distinction?

Certain restrictions regarding gender transition during active duty are rational. Any significant surgery or volatile medication regimes should probably be undertaken before or after active duty.
Many transgendered soldiers are content to serve according to cisgender norms. But Trump"s tweet bans them all with no consideration of the many nuances of transgender identity, the specific real contributions being offered by capable Americans.

Consider the example of Kristin Beck, a member of Seal Team Six, 21 year veteran of 7 combat deployments, bronze star and Purple Heart recipient. Her former compatriots applauded her gender transition. She was singled out for recognition by DIA director Michael Flynn. [6]

Trump, who took 4 deferments during the Vietnam War, has the impertinence to call such a soldier a "burden." Trump, who ambushes his Chiefs of Staff with political stunts, has the temerity to call such a soldier "disruptive."

I, for one, think Americans should mind when loyal service is disrespected. I think Americans should mind when honorable people get fired to promote dishonest politics. I think Americans should ignore this president"s thoughtless tweet and if Trump tries to enforce his careless bigotry, the courts, the Congress, the people can and should countermand this parochial locust of a Commander-in-Chief.

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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Arganger 11 months ago
Sorry! I meant to post my argument this morning but I forgot I had an mri!
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