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When I stepped on the yellow footprints at MCRD Sandiego on June 17th, 2001, the last thing on my mind was the Marine Corps accommodating me. In fact, what I wanted was to be a part of the Marine Corps. No DI ever asked me, “Recruit, what do you want to do?” I was told, in no uncertain terms, what I was going to do. Everything from how I ate, to how I dressed, to how I washed my nuts after PT was dictated to me by the Drill Instructors. My wants, desires, dreams were all washed away for thirteen weeks as I became a basically trained Marine.
For my entire enlistment, I viewed myself as putting things I wanted on hold to serve my country. When I left for boot camp, I didn’t worry about having a girlfriend- that could wait. I missed the college graduations of my dad and one of my best friends- my country took priority. Soon after boot camp, a friend of mine (well, a friend of my dads, but I liked the man in question) ate a two piper- service first. When I started having things that began to compete (a wife and kids of my own) I started to run into conflicts. My first child was born while I was away- I didn’t go home to witness it, though I wanted to. My wife turned 21 during a deployment- guess I’ll have to wait until I get back to have a drink with her.
The reason I share all of this is not to get your sympathy, or elicit an emotional response of any kind. The reason I share all of this is to illustrate that the Marines never bent to my will- I bent to theirs. So when I heard that The Don had tweeted that transgendered individuals wouldn’t be allowed to serve in any capacity, I just shrugged. They are no more special than I, and if the Marines won’t bend over backwards to accommodate me- why should they bend over backwards for them? The military functions as well as it does because of the rules and regulations that govern it. It is the best ever created because the members bend to its will and adopt its customs and traditions. The military isn’t a social experiment- it’s a weapon.
“But transpeople want to serve too,” you might say. Ok. Don’t be openly trans. I couldn’t be openly dad when my kid was born. I couldn’t be openly celebratory when my dad graduated college (no small feat either- he nearly flunked out due to calculus). There were many times where I had to put who I was aside, and serve my nation according to the articles and regulations laid out in the UCMJ and other directive documents and procedures that govern how the armed forces work. I wanted in- and part of being in was a sacrifice of self to be a part of something bigger. Many friends of mine served their whole enlistments wanting to get high- but they didn’t. They did their jobs, upheld the rules set out, and served with honor and distinction. There are homosexual men and women who have served entire careers under DODA who gave up being open about who they were because that was the rule. They didn’t bitch about it- they put one foot in front of the other and carried out the plan of the day. This hyperbolic BS I’m seeing from people who never stepped foot into the organization that defends their freedoms, and the crowd pleasing rhetoric I’m hearing from those wanting their 15 minutes of fame all ignore the simple fact that the military is a culture unto itself. The entry fee is that you adopt that culture willingly and without restraint. You become what they want- not the other way around.
“But it’s discriminatory,” someone might say. Yes. The military is discriminatory. Are you fat? Lose your weight. Are you mentally disabled? You can’t join (but you can still run for congress or President). Do you not meet the minimum physical expectations? Sorry- you are a “no-go.” You’re a felon? Sorry, we can’t take you. The military has certain things you must be before you can join. It always has and it always should. Already there is a group of people who are given special treatment within the military, and last I checked, they still were. Women. Yes, women get special treatment within the military. The physical standards are different for women than they are for men. Women can run slower, and still get the same points as a man. Do less crunches- still get the same points. You see? It’s weighted in favor of women. Why? Because physically, they just can’t compete on a level playing field. We all understand this, and we are all ok with separating men and women in arenas like basketball. I don’t agree with this, but that isn’t the crux of this post (another time). But what I will say about this is that it can lead to male Marines being aggravated when a female Marine has to do less and get seen as equal.
Case in point. I went to the MCMAP instructor course on Camp Geiger, and the first day there is a PFT. I woke up that morning feeling like I had been hit by a truck full of Sarin. My stomach was queezy, I almost threw up a couple times before leaving the apartment. But I showed up, and ran a very high second class PFT (I had a 234- 235 is a first class). You need a first class PFT to go through the course. I missed getting into the school by ONE FREAKING POINT. There was a female that was entering the class. I did more crunches than her. Ran faster than her, and honestly, I would have done a longer flexed arm hang (except men do pullups- of which I did eleven, but only five were counted- there are days I REALLY hated short Marines… Ask about that one, it’s kinda funny). She was accepted to the course, I was not. No waiver. No whining. Nothing. A week later, at the instructor course put on by my battalion, I ran a 285. Best PFT of my entire career. I wasn't physically incapable of going through the course- that WM was and I out performed her feeling like death warmed over.
And that brings up a very important question with regards to trans people. Do we agree that men and women are separate but equal? The Marine Corps has two standards, one male, one female (this is just one example, you can find the full listing here- peruse them yourself). Which standards do the trans people follow? If a trans-woman is allowed to meet the standards of the women- how unfair is that to all the other Marines around them? They’d out compete their female counterparts, and be weighted preferentially against their male counterparts. Where’s the meritocracy in that? How is that a fair assessment of their performance versus another Marines? And the poor transman- how can they really hope to compete when their standards are too high for their physiology and the standards are weighted in favor of the real girls whose standards they no longer follow? And what about hormone therapy? What if the trans person is deployed in a combat zone- what if their therapy is cut off (I would wager that a transition therapy isn't the number one priority in combat resupply runs)? We all agree on separate but equal, just not with regards to race because between two men of different ethnicity, there is really very little difference. But between the sexes, there are very BIG differences and ignoring them does no one any good.
The crux for me then is how trans people start affecting the good order and discipline of the men and women around them. If they are treated as their sex at birth, and held to the standards thereof, they will at some point make waves about how that is transphobic or otherwise unfair- they FEEL like the opposite sex they were "assigned" at birth. If they are treated as the sex they feel like... Let me ask you this question, and be honest. Can a woman (any woman) play center for an NFL team and even hope to complete on a regular playing field without steroids and hormone therapy? Can any woman hope to play running back and be in the running for most yards run? What about QB? Could they throw the ball as far, as fast?
This board of accomplishments is on the wall of the indoor track at St. Thomas University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Take a long hard look at it. Those aren't kids- those are college level athletes. They are the same age as the men and women fighting for our nation. Notice how the men do markedly better overall. I'm not saying this to say that men are better- we're just physically more capable of doing things like running, jumping, and carrying heavy shit over long distances. Our bones are denser. We have greater muscle mass. Men are bigger, faster, stronger aye-aye, sir. No amount of whining will change that, and letting trans people come in and play by their own rules WILL screw it up.
The simple solution, as I see it, is to just disallow them serving in a trans capacity. They can serve, but they stick to the standards of their biological sex, and when they get out- they can get their hormone therapy and reassignment surgeries. Hell, I’d even be ok with the VA paying for it as reward for honorable service to their country. There are those who will fly off the handle and whine about how unfair it all is. Yeah. It is. War don't give two heaping bags of last weeks tray rats about being fair. In war, you want to be as unfair as you possibly can. That's why our military is so damned good. We ensure that no matter where we are, the deck is stacked in OUR favor. It being so means less Americans die, and more of our enemies take premature dirt naps. I want it to stay that way. I have friends who still serve. My son (and maybe my daughters too) may serve at some point. I want them (and their fellows) to come home. If that means that some trans person who just can't deal not being trans for four years doesn't get to wear the uniform, then that is a price I am willing toupe (get it- The Don- oh god, no one really cares...).
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