How joyous about trans and the military

So, Obama said trans people can serve. Trump’s just said nope, they can’t. At which point we get this:

A California congressman fired back at President Donald Trump’s Twitter announcement barring transgendered service members, saying the decision will affect thousands of people.

Hmm, well, no, not really. Because we’re using different definitions here.

Lieu spokesman Jack d’Annabale said the congressman got his estimate from a May 2014 brief by researchers at UCLA’s Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy.

They used responses to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, sent to respondents by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality. The definition of transgender included “those whose gender identity or expression differs from those traditionally associated with their assigned sex at birth,” according to the study.

That’s one possible definition of trans. How people view themselves inside their heads.

Another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September 2015 used data from the UCLA brief and other sources to determine that 12,800 service member would be eligible for transgender health care. The study suggested of those, 188 would use benefits for transition services, at a cost of $4.2 million to $5.6 million.

That’s another possible definition, how many people go under the knife. Neither definition is actually the correct one, with the emphasis on the there. Either definition is useful at times. The trick is to work out which time is useful in what circumstances. No, I don’t know the answer for the military either. But my own prejudices would lead me to the idea that the first definition isn’t the relevant one while the second could be.

My actual point here is the trivial one that we’ve always got to examine the composition of any statistic which is thrown at us. Thousands you say? OK, how are you defining what you’re claiming thousands of? As with that perennial around here, poverty? Yes, but what is it that you mean by poverty? Having to cut back on the tabs in order to be able to afford beer? OK, sure, that’s a form of poverty but are you sure you want to go to the barricades for that one? In the same manner you want to over whether without tabs or beer, or pleasures, someone can get 2,000 calories a day?

49 comments on “How joyous about trans and the military

  1. Does this mean a man who ‘identifies’ as a woman would only need to pass the woman’s combat fitness standard?

  2. Worth committing a crime and getting sent to a women’s prison on this self-identifying basis, just for all the muff.

  3. In the old days you could have ‘identified’ youself as a woman just before the female pension age, thus pocketing the State pension a few years early. Plus getting cheaper car insurance. Result!

  4. The NHS performed 143 sex-change operations in 2009 (the only year for which I can find figures). The average patient age was 42.

    On that basis alone, I can’t see how they’d get 188/year out of the U.S. armed forces (unless trans people are particularly drawn to enlist). However there could well be a backlog of 188 who would like surgery but who are unable (or unwilling) to pay for it out of their pocket. Once the backlog is cleared we’d expect no more than a dozen operations per year, in proportion with the NHS figures.

  5. I’m taken by the idea that it’s the welfare state aspect of the US armed forces that rules out the idea, for Trump, of trannies joining up.

  6. “Having to cut back on the tabs in order to be able to afford beer?

    Tab poverty- there is an answer to that.. but Richard M won’t like it.

  7. I can’t help but think that those who are confused about basics ie their sex are not going to be assets under fire.

  8. how many people go under the knife.

    One of these days people are going to realise that transition isn’t really about the knife.

    It’s hormones.

    A majority of those that transition don’t bother with the operation anyway (a lot of the trans women have their balls removed so they don’t need testosterone antagonists, but that’s not full genital reconstruction surgery). If you take enough oestrogen to feminise your body, then you can’t get it up anyway. This is why they tend to complain about people obsessed with their genitals – hormones are what really make the changes. Also, you don’t need to ask “are you taking hormones?” – the body changes are really obvious.

    If you’re a trans woman, all you need is to take an oestrogen pill once a day – much like a cis woman would likely be taking a hormone pill for contraception, or (if older) for HRT. They tend to overcharge for the pills when used for transition (higher dose) rather than contraception/HRT, which is why there’s such a big black market (this is mostly because trans women need the pills and they don’t have the political clout to embarass the manufacturer into lowering prices, and licensing means it’s not a competitive market).

    Trans men take testosterone, and digesting testosterone pills creates by-products that cause liver damage, which is why they tend to inject it instead – and that could cause a deployment issue in the military, because injectable T has to be kept refrigerated. It’s comparable to insulin-dependent diabetics, who are restricted from some roles for the same reason that they need access to a fridge.

  9. ‘saying the decision will affect thousands of people.’

    It will affect 2 million.

    In uniform. Who will mostly say, “I’m glad this stupid shit is over.”

  10. Mmmm.. I suppose there would have had to have been a militarised version of the boob-job. Something with Kevlar & titanium plates, I guess. Expensive. You can see why..

  11. The obvious compromise is to allow them to enlist, but not to fund elective procedures.

    Me, I’ve been taking squirrel hormones for years, paid for out of my own pocket as the NHS doesn’t recognise my trans-squirrel nature.

  12. The point here is not whT is in people’s head, or whether they wish to have surgery or who pays for it; it is they are being told they cannot serve – back to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy employed against homosexuality – except those who have come out after the change of policy after Obama now face losing their jobs and benefits. And the Rand report gives the numbers.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/transgender-us-soldiers-donald-trump-draft-dodger-military-kick-out-us-president-tweet-a7862216.html

    “At least one openly transgender member of the military has vowed to keep serving despite the ban. “I would like to see them try to kick me out of my military,” Staff Sergeant Logan Ireland, of the Air Force, told the Air Force Times. “You are not going to deny me my right to serve my country when I am fully qualified and able and willing to give my life.”…….

    A Rand Corporation study estimated there were between 1,320 to 6,630 transgender people currently serving in the US military.”…….

  13. If SSgt Logan Ireland is so keen to risk his/her life I’m sure s/he could be transitioned to one of the OMLT teams in Afghanistan. It can’t hurt for the Air Force guys to experience life on the ground. (Actually it can hurt, but s/he seems up for it.)

  14. The money that Trump is so determined to save works out to about the same as one of his weekend golf trips (currently out-golfing Obama more than 2 to 1, btw). Seems a bit pointless to get rid of all those trained individuals just to pay for an extra weekend on the links.

  15. The final point on definitions matters enormously. Always ask what people exactly mean when using a word. This can be a very productive avenue to take with most politics. “Fair” is well known as concealing all manner of things.

  16. For all of the howling this will cause, it would be hard to overstate just how little this will mean to your average ‘Merican. And if you don’t think this was done by Trump as a favor to the top brass of each and every branch of the U. S. military, I have prime oceanfront land in Nebraska I’d like to sell you.

    All branches have a serious retention problem with junior officers, and the reason most often sited by those deciding not to re-up is the dissatisfaction with having the services being turned into a progressive lab by the policies put in place by the Obama Administration.

    This is powerful signal to those serving that progressive playtime in the military is coming to an end. And you know what? If that hurts the feelings of the gender confused and their enablers, well, I don’t give a fuck.

  17. Since you ask – he has already done a tour in Afganistan at Kandahar.

    She.

    I’m five feet six inches of Caucasian male. I don’t get to be a seven foot tall African-American female because I want to be one… You is what you is, and reality trumps how you “identify”.

  18. Think of it as a Septic version of Brexit… Septic Sexual Brexit.

    The latest polling shows that only about 23% of ‘Mericans supports transsexuals in the military. That means that fully half of those who identify as Democrat don’t support it.

    And as with Remainiacs, none of that ‘Will of the People’ shit will matter to U.S. progressives now that it’s working against ’em.

  19. no doubt some transexuals joined in the hope of getting their medication and any operations paid by the military rather than funding it themselves. i bet the russian/chinese/korean military don’t have these sort of problems and are probably pissing themselves laughing aboutthe shit the west has decided to put up with in the name of equality and progress

  20. Let’s give a bunch of mentally ill suicide risks access to heavy weaponry. What could go wrong?

  21. Being “transgender” is a mental disorder. People who suffer from mental disorders need help. The military is not a mental health treatment organization. Therefore, the military is not the right place for trans people.

  22. “The NHS performed 143 sex-change operations in 2009 (the only year for which I can find figures). The average patient age was 42. On that basis alone, I can’t see how they’d get 188/year out of the U.S. armed forces”

    Since the Social Security Administration started in 1936, 135,367 people have changed their name to one of the opposite gender, and 30,006 also changed their sex accordingly, the study found. Of Americans who participated in the 2010 census, 89,667 had changed their names and 21,833 had also changed their sex.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/09/upshot/the-search-for-the-best-estimate-of-the-transgender-population.html?mcubz=0

    Plastic surgeons performed more than 3,250 operations to help people physically confirm their genders in 2016 — a 19% increase compared to the previous year in the US.

    http://uk.businessinsider.com/sex-transition-plastic-surgery-statistics-2017-5?r=US&IR=T

    Not that that’s what Trump was talking about. Sex is what’s between your legs, gender is what’s between your ears, so people who have had SRS are transexuals, which is a subset of the transgender.

    “I can’t help but think that those who are confused about basics ie their sex are not going to be assets under fire.”

    I can’t help but think that those who don’t understand things like liberty and the Harm Principle are going to be good at fighting the enemies of liberty. But everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    “The obvious compromise is to allow them to enlist, but not to fund elective procedures.”

    So long as that’s applied to *all* elective procedures, sure.

    “And if you don’t think this was done by Trump as a favor to the top brass of each and every branch of the U. S. military, I have prime oceanfront land in Nebraska I’d like to sell you.”

    The story is that a bunch of traditionalist hardliner Republican Senators/Congressmen were blocking the military funding bill because of the TG medical issue, so Trump agreed to kick them out to get the bill passed. It’s the usual political horse-trading. I don’t think Trump cares a lot personally, one way or the other. He campaigned as pro-LGBT. But a lot of Republican pols have issues with TGs, either personally, or because their voter base do. That’s politics.

    “I’m five feet six inches of Caucasian male. I don’t get to be a seven foot tall African-American female because I want to be one… You is what you is, and reality trumps how you “identify”.”

    It’s not about “because I want to be”, it’s about how your brain is wired. There are about 30 identifiable sex-linked anatomical brain features that can be picked up on brain scans, but the correlation is not perfect – about 1%-10% of most of them go the other way. Most of these will be for socially neutral characteristics like women being able to read maps and men with social awareness, but if you get the other sex’s module for sexual attraction (for example) you’ll be homosexual, and if you get the wrong one of several of the other socialisation/behaviour modules you’ll be transgender. They’re just glitches in pre-natal brain development – which everyone has, but for most people are pretty harmless. Some percentage of men have a different version of the androgen receptor gene NR3C4, for example, and certain bits of their brains didn’t respond to hydroxy-testosterone in the womb.

    It’s no more a matter of choice than being an introvert or extrovert. You can’t make yourself the other by an act of will – it’s just how your brain is wired.

    “Let’s give a bunch of mentally ill suicide risks access to heavy weaponry. What could go wrong?”

    They’re suicide risks primarily because of the bullying and persecution. I’d think heavy weaponry would tend to help with that!

  23. @Josephine

    ‘Since you ask – he has already done a tour in Afganistan at Kandahar.’

    1. I didn’t ask.

    2. I didn’t say ‘If SSgt Logan Ireland is so keen to risk his/her life I’m sure s/he could be transitioned to Kandahar Air Base, which was the safest place in Afghanistan.’ S/he would have been in more danger there from overeating McDonald’s than from the Taliban. Literally much safer than in south side Chicago, or many parts of most of the USA’s major cities.

    I said ‘If SSgt Logan Ireland is so keen to risk his/her life I’m sure s/he could be transitioned to one of the OMLT teams in Afghanistan.

    That is dangerous because you are living alongside armed Talib posing as Afghan squaddies – ask the three Green Berets who were killed the other day.

  24. As I’ve said before, my current CO is male to female transsexual. I’ve served with her in Afghanistan (when she was on hormone therapy.)

    She’s post op and was asked about qualifying for fitness under ladies’ rules and said that the first effect she noticed from the hormone therapy was that it knackered your stamina. So she was lucky she got a cushty room in Bastion rather than my 24-blerk tent and 3 mile shank’s pony commute.

    Her biggest operations issue was that her voice was still totally male. So shed phone people up, arrange a visit, turn up and many people were, err wtf are you, (ma’am)?

  25. Niv-sex is determined by chromosomes. Nobody’s ever changed their sex, only mutilated their genitals. Because they’re mentally disordered.

  26. It’s not about “because I want to be”, it’s about how your brain is wired.

    Yeah, we’ve heard that story before: There is no free will. And because there is no free will, we must therefore accept. Sorry. But I call bullshit.

    You is what you is. And if trans folks want to play pretend, that’s their choice. My choice centers around whether I am going to play pretend as well. I will not.

  27. “Niv-sex is determined by chromosomes.”

    If you’re talking about the old XX vs XY thing, no it’s not. That was the understanding 50 years ago, but science has found out a lot more about sex determination since then. You’re knowledge is out of date.

    And anyway, gender is determined by different chromosomes. Brain anatomy is controlled by a multitude of genes, which can vary independently.

  28. i always think back to what Milo said
    “MILO spoke to a crowded room of young college students, describing the difference in treatment that a mental illness like Anorexia would receive if it were to be classed as an LGBT issue.

    “I want you to imagine the struggles of a fellow student. They feel they don’t belong in their body. They were born the wrong shape, and when they look into a mirror, they see something alien, it isn’t them. This fellow student will go to any lengths to become the person they KNOW they are on the inside. It may involve drug usage, mutilation, or starvation.” said MILO.

    “You may think I am describing a transexual, but I’m not- I’m describing a young person with Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia Nervosa is a mental disorder. When detected, the sufferer will receive counselling and other mental health treatment to stop their destructive behaviors and learn to recover both mentally and physically. Many sufferers of Anorexia end up leading normal and productive lives, and even maintain a healthy weight.”

    Milo paused before, saying “Now imagine if Anorexia was on the LGBT spectrum.”

    “How would treatment differ?” asked MILO. “The Anorexia would not be called a mental disorder, but something else, something non-offensive, maybe a condition. It would be encouraged by parents and mental healthcare providers. The trans-eating would be praised for their strength and encouraged not to eat. They might even get surgery to remove some ribs to be even thinner. It’s sick and disgusting, but that largely describes how gender dysphoria, formerly known as gender identity disorder, is treated today.”

    MILO continued. “Some are still brave enough to say the truth, for example Dr. Paul McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, who has said that transgenderism is a ‘mental disorder’ that merits treatment, that sex change is ‘biologically impossible,’ and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are ‘collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.’”

    “He said that and didn’t get droned by the Obama administration. I’m shocked!”

  29. NiV-
    Looked it up just today:
    “chromosomes 48 gene-carrying intranuclear structures arranged as 24 pairs (23 identical pairs and one non-matched pair of sex chromosomes; male sex chromosome has ‘X’ and ‘Y’ components [XY]; female sex chromosome has two ‘X’ components [XX]); each pair of chromosomes reproduces itself during mitosis so that daughter cells each receive a full complement of 24 chromosome pairs; undergo reduction division during meiosis (i.e. ova or sperm formation) and each germ cell has only 24 single chromosomes (i.e. one chromosome from each of the 23 paired chromosomes, one chromosome from the dissimilar pair, as either an ‘X’ or a ‘Y’ chromosome; following fusion of ovum (X or X) with sperm (X or Y), the fertilized egg carries a full complement of 24 pairs of chromosomes, and the sex of the individual is determined at conception (XX or XY)”
    That’s from the Free Dictionary-medical dictionary, but there are countless other cites. Sex is what it is, and “gender” as used by the trans and their enablers, is whatever you feel like calling yourself.

  30. ” I don’t think Trump cares a lot personally, one way or the other. He campaigned as pro-LGBT.”

    True, he is the most progressively pro LGBT president in history. Amusing to see the media paint him as anti-gays.

    It’s also comic to see the level of protest at the overturning of a policy that is barely 9 months old as though it’s a foundation stone of the republic. A policy Obama was so committed to he left it to the last hour of an 8 year presidency to enact.

    Reminds be of some of the Gordon Brown antics after he lost the election, he seemed to spend all his time from then on laying bombs for Cameron, such as slashing the PM’s pay.

  31. The article arguing against Trump claims that 0.3% of the population is trans-sexual. IMHO that is a major over-statement, by an order of magnitude, as I only know one, and knew one other whom I assume to have died of old age by now, out of many thousands of friends and close acquaintances.
    So this such a big deal because it deprives the American military of a tiny fraction of 1% of potential warriors? Compared to the 4-7% non-combat-ready time of female Marines?

  32. The article arguing against Trump says they hate the military and they hate America. Their words are just noise.

  33. “he is the most progressively pro LGBT president in history”

    What a load of shit. What pro LGBT things has he actually done, as opposed to just made noise about?

  34. “Worth committing a crime and getting sent to a women’s prison on this self-identifying basis, just for all the muff.”

    I visited a female friend in HMP Downview – it was indeed full of young woman and almost only young women.

  35. “That’s from the Free Dictionary-medical dictionary, but there are countless other cites.”

    That’s just the “for the kiddies” version.

    The top level sex determiner is the SRY gene which usually appears on the Y chromosome. Presence of a functioning SRY gene creates a protein that triggers the development of the sex chords from the gonadal ridges, which (in combination with a whole load of other genes) leads to the development of testes. In the embryo these secrete hydroxy-testosterone, which triggers a cascade of dozens of other sex hormones, which in turn are detected by a range of dozens more receptor molecules on cells all around the body, that trigger them to develop into the male or female pattern. It’s very complicated, and much of it is still not known or understood even today.

    The SRY gene itself can be broken, or appear in the wrong place – leading to people with Y chromosomes who develop as females. The genes that code for the enzymes that create testosterone, convert it to hydroxy-testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, oxytocin, vasopressin, androstenediol, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone, dihydrotestosterone, estradiol, estetrol, estriol, estrone, etc., or that detect it, or that respond to the detection, and so on. There are molecules that block the normal pathway, or trigger a response from the opposite pathway, or all sorts of strange things. It’s a hideously complicated machine built by a blind watchmaker. It usually goes wrong, somewhere, but is robust enough to muddle through anyway.

    So there are a huge number of sex development disorders that result from various bits of this complex tree-like cascade going wrong. Congenital adrenal hyperplasia causes women (with XX chromosomes) to produce androgens, and wind up with male genitals. Androgen insensitivity syndrom causes males (with XY chromosomes) to develop as females. 5-alpha-reductase deficiency results in people born as females who turn into males at puberty.

    You can get bearded ladies, and hermaphrodites, sufferers of 17β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase deficiency, 5α-Reductase deficiency, aphallia, aposthia, aromatase deficiency, aromatase excess, combined 17α-hydroxylase/17,20-lyase deficiency, estrogen insensitivity syndrome,isolated 17,20-desmolase deficiency, Klinefelter syndrome,Leydig cell hypoplasia, Swyer Syndrome, Ullrich-Turner syndrome, Müllerian agenesis, and so on.

    And those are just the most obvious conditions affecting the external genitals. There are dozens of sex-differentiated systems in the body and brain, each of which can go wrong independently, without visible external signs. There are so many that even with a relatively small probability of each of them going wrong, pretty much everyone has some elements of anatomy that are far more common in the other sex.

    Mostly this doesn’t matter and nobody notices. They’re just the normal range of human variation. But there are a few elements that have huge cultural significance – like which sex you are sexually attracted to.

    It’s inbuilt. Most people are attracted to the opposite sex, and no treatment has been found by which people can be changed. You can’t simply ‘decide’ to be homosexual as an act of will. (A heterosexual can learn to enjoy homosexual sex, but it’s not homosexuality.) You either like boys (or girls) or you don’t. And all attempts to change this (and there have been many) have failed. It’s a bit of a disappointment to the radical feminists, who wanted to persuade us that there was no innate mental difference between the sexes and it was all down to patriarchal culture, but there you go. Science says “no”.

    The classic case is David Reimer, who was accidentally mutilated during a botched circumcision in infancy and was therefore raised as a girl. From the age of 9-11 he nevertheless identified as a boy, and acted as such, and transitioned to male at 15. He eventually committed suicide.

    You can’t change what gender a person is – it’s wired into the brain. And sometimes (probably about 1% of the time) that wired-in gender doesn’t agree with the sex expressed in the external genitals. It’s just the way nature is.

    The simplistic XX-vs-XY explanation works 99% of the time, and that’s good enough for most purposes. But lines in nature are always slightly fuzzy, and rules designed for the 99% tend to make a horrible mess if you insist on applying them to the 1% as well. For centuries they did that to gays, driving heroes like Alan Turing to suicide for stupid, fundamentally insane reasons. We learnt the lesson, and don’t do that any more, and gays don’t commit suicide any more just because people have found out they’re gay. We haven’t yet learnt the same lesson with respect to the transgender. But it’s in progress.

    The trouble is, society doesn’t ever give up on its authoritarian tendencies, it just shifts targets. The obvious move is to use the precedent set and now classify homophobia and transphobia as mental illnesses (or at least mental aberrations) and medicalise them, in the same way they once did with homosexuality. Fortunately, there’s a cure. Medical trials report that victims of homophobia and transphobia when subjected to electro-convulsive aversion therapy for several months or years report statistically significant reductions in their homophobic feelings. Good news, eh?

    You might think that sort of thing could never happen in a civilised society – but it did, once, with homosexuality. When proposing any social measure against others, one should always consider how you would view it if it was applied by your cultural and political enemies against you. Never create a weapon you wouldn’t be happy to see in the hands of an enemy, because one day it will be.

  36. Matthew L

    “What a load of shit. What pro LGBT things has he actually done, as opposed to just made noise about?”

    Treated them exactly the same as he treats everyone else.

  37. Hows this for peak guardian -https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/28/my-dog-molly-underwent-gender-reassignment-surgery

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