Biologically male U.S. veterans are twice as likely as civilian men to identify as female and often decide to enlist to reassert their masculinity, according to a new, soon-to-be published study authored by former military psychologist George Brown, an Air Force vet who has been analyzing transgender military rates for decades.
"A striking similarity was noted in the histories of nearly all of the military gender dysphorics," one of his earlier studies found. "They joined the service, in their words, 'to become a real man.'"
The Department of Defense doesn't currently let transgender people serve in the military, due to "medical standards" and the same prejudiced reasoning responsible for DADT: how ever will the troops focus on fighting if they're surrounded by deviants?
But according to Brown, the judge advocate general for the U.S. Air Force has never been certain that's the right thing to do. "The short of the matter seems to be that if we propose to base the policy of discharging members who undergo sex change operations on promotion of good order, discipline, morale, or other similar virtues, we must prepare for a challenge on the ground that there is no empirical evidence that transsexuals have an adverse impact on those values," the JAG quite rationally found in 1984.
Aaron Belkin, the director of a UCLA center studying sexual minorities in the military, told Courthouse News that Brown's upcoming study could not only help convince people that transgender soldiers actually exist — a fact anti-gay groups love to dispute — but prove once and for all that they're negatively affected when they're forced to hide their true selves, to the detriment of everyone involved.
"Warrior identity and military masculinity are so revered in this society that people will do whatever it takes, including dying, for people to prove that they are 'real men,'" he said. "The fact that many [male-to-female] transgender individuals join the military to prove that they are 'real men' is a sad testament to the culture's idealization of warrior masculinity."
Additionally, other countries that don't ban transgender soldiers, such as Canada, Israel, Spain and Thailand, have reported that — shockingly! — life on base and on the battlefield hasn't changed for the worse. So what's stopping the U.S. from following suit?
If we really can't allow openly transgender individuals to serve in the military due to basic human rights, maybe Brown's work can convince higher-ups that it's safer for the country. Remember Bradley Manning, the alleged WikiLeaks whistleblower? His defense attorneys say his mental health was affected after years of hiding his transgender identity while serving in the Army. In fact, a copy of Brown's 1988 study, "Flight into Hypermasculinity," was found in Manning's living quarters. Hopefully his new research won't take as long to permeate the public consciousness.
Transgenderism More Likely in Military, Study Finds [Courthouse News]
Image via Rafal OlkisShutterstock.