Pentagon Officials Misled Congress on Transgender Troops by Asserting Falsehoods that DoD’s Own Data Contradict, and by Calling Equal Treatment "Special" Treatment
Mayer, Mark V. (Marcie)
Schultz, Tammy S.
Ventresca, Marc J.
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Two senior Pentagon officials testified on February 27, 2019 before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel in defense of President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members, which the Defense Department plans to reinstate once permitted by courts. In their testimony, James N. Stewart, performing the duties of Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and Vice Admiral Raquel Bono, Director of the Defense Health Agency, misled Congress by asserting falsehoods about readiness and deployment and by saying that applying a single standard of fitness equally to all service members means giving transgender troops “special accommodations.” Their mischaracterizations echoed many of the main points in DoD’s 2018 “Report and Recommendations on Military Service by Transgender Persons,” known as the “Mattis Report.” Both the written and verbal testimony introduced deceptive, erroneous, and false assertions about the ostensible risk that gender dysphoria poses to readiness and deployment and about standards that DoD plans to apply to transgender service members. DoD witnesses deemed gender dysphoria a risk despite the fact that 1) every Service Chief testified in Congress that inclusive policy has not compromised readiness; 2) no evidence supports the assertion; 3) a global medical consensus finds the medical condition is treatable and should not be disqualifying; and 4) DoD’s own data concerning the successful deployment of hundreds of service members with the diagnosis contradict the claim. DoD witnesses defined transgender individuals as a deployment risk and then blamed them for being “unwilling” to adhere to standards written specifically to exclude them from service.
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