Monday, July 31, 2017

I Was Once Transgender. Why I Think Trump Made the Right Decision for the Military

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he wouldn’t allow transgender individuals to serve in the military:

I think he made the right decision—and as someone who lived as trans-female for several years, I should know.

When I discovered Congress voted earlier this month to not block funding for transgender-related hormone therapies and sex change surgeries, I wondered if it considered how devastating this will be to the fitness, readiness, and morale of our combat-ready troops.

In July, the House of Representatives voted down Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which would have banned the military from funding such treatments.

Paying for transition-related surgeries for military service members and their families is beyond comprehensible.

Perhaps they have forgotten that our military was forged to be the world’s strongest fighting force, not a government-funded, politically correct, medical sex change clinic for people with gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria, the common diagnosis for one who feels at odds with his or her birth gender, develops from prolonged anxiety and depression. People are not born that way.

The "proof" for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is having strongly held feelings—but feelings can and often do change over time.

The military is expected to prepare its members in warfare: to kill, destroy, and break our enemies. The most important factors in preparing a strong military are not hormone therapy, surgical sex changes, or politically correct education.

We need psychologically fit, emotionally sound, highly trained troops to protect our nation from its enemies.

While countless homeless vets are currently sleeping under cardboard boxes, or waiting for life-saving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, we learn that transgender military recruits now qualify for preferential coverage for sex change procedures that are scientifically unproven and extremely costly.

I myself was fully sex-reassigned from male to female, and eventually came to accept my birth gender.

I have over 70 years of firsthand life experience, eight years of living as a woman, 20 years of researching the topic, and 12 years of helping others who, like me, found that transitioning and reassignment surgery failed to be proper treatment and want to restore their lives to their birth gender.

Transitioning can be expensive—up to $130,000 per person for numerous body-mutilating and cosmetic procedures over many months (or years) to fashion the body to appear as the opposite sex.

Yet, no matter how skilled the surgeon, or how much money is spent, it is biologically impossible to change a man into a woman or a woman into a man. The change is only cosmetic.

The medical community continues to recommend this radical "treatment" in the absence of scientific evidence that people are better off in the long run. This population attempts suicide at a rate of 40 percent.

Even after the full surgical change, they attempt to end their lives, or tragically succeed.

Over 60 percent of this diverse population suffer from co-existing mental disorders. Consider Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning), a former Army soldier who was so psychologically and emotionally unbalanced that he stole confidential documents from the military and forwarded them to WikiLeaks.

Through my website,, I hear from people who experienced firsthand how damaging and unnecessary reassignment surgeries were. For them, the sex change failed to resolve the emotional and psychological disorders that drove the desire to change gender.

Many write after living the transgender life for years. They write to ask for advice on how to reverse the original surgical change and restore their lives to the original birth gender like I did, a process called detransition.

Some service members will come to regret having undergone the surgery and will want to detransition. Where will the military be then? Will the military pay for the sex change reversal procedure, too?

Failed "sex change surgeries" are not uncommon and will drive up the cost to care for the military transgender population above the projected $3-4 billion 10-year cost.

Beyond the financial cost, there’s the question of the service member’s military readiness during their transition or detransition, as the process often comes with a great deal of anxiety and emotional instability.

I know of many who have struggled to adapt to the new gender role for years after reassignment surgery.

In my view, as a former trans-female who works every day with regretters, allowing the military to pay for sex change surgeries will make a mockery of the U.S. military.

Advocates are relentless in their pursuit of making others, via the government and insurance companies, cover the cost of sex change procedures.

If the military had been forced to pay, the advocates would have used this as leverage to press every other entity—both government and commercial—to pay for sex change surgeries as well.

As a person who lived the transgender life for eight years, I can attest that assisting, affirming, or paying for hormone therapies and genital mutilation surgeries would not have strengthened our military. They would only have brought adverse long-term consequences, both for individuals and for our armed forces as a whole.


Trump wages a broad effort to roll back accomodations for transgenders

The report below is from a Leftist source but includes some interesting facts.  I have deleted most of the contumely

President Trump posted on social media that he intends to ban transgender soldiers from serving "in any capacity,"

Trump’s announcement, in a series of three tweets Wednesday, amounted to a 180-degree shift in military policy and caught the military off guard. The move has been seen by some as an attempt to shore up Trump’s presidency by energizing elements of a GOP base.

"This forces Democrats in Rust Belt states like Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin to take complete ownership of this issue," an anonymous Trump administration official explained to the Washington news site Axios, after the president tweeted. "How will the blue collar voters in these states respond when senators up for reelection in 2018 like Debbie Stabenow are forced to make their opposition to this a key plank of their campaign?"

The administration’s efforts to roll back protections for the LGBTQ community go beyond the military. Trump’s Department of Justice filed a legal brief Wednesday arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn’t protect workers from "discrimination based on sexual orientation," an action branded as discriminatory by gay rights groups and a switch from Obama’s position. Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said the brief is "consistent" with the department’s longstanding policies.

And the Department of Education, in February, rescinded an Obama-era ruling that barred schools from discriminating against transgender students.

The country is taking notice. Sixteen states are debating laws in 2017 that would restrict access for transgender people to bathrooms or locker rooms, according to the National Council of State Legislatures. That’s after North Carolina passed a bathroom ban bill, and then repealed portions of it after a new Democratic governor took office this year.

And in Texas, where last week the state Senate approved a bathroom ban for transgender students, advocates on both sides say the president’s intention to ban transgender people in the military helps provide fresh momentum for the legislation.

As of Friday additional lawmakers had signed on — or expressed support — to a House bill. "There is concern that the president is providing folks with quote-unquote cover," said Lou Weaver, with Equality Texas, a group fighting the legislation there.

He said he has seen a wholesale change in the climate for transgender people in the past six months. "People are scared," Weaver said. "People are more worried. ‘Am I going to be able to keep my job?’ I think we’ve definitely seen a different climate."

Groups supporting bathroom bills also believe the president’s words will spill into state-level debates.

"The president of the country is the leader of the free world — I think it will invigorate members of state legislatures to lead on these issues," said Mandi Ancalle, the general counsel for government affairs at the Family Research Council. "And not to worry so much about how they might be attacked or cast in the media."

Trump’s campaign pitch to LGBT voters was quite different. At the GOP convention in Cleveland last year, Trump said that he would "do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens." He invited Peter Thiel, an openly gay Republican donor, to speak to the delegates. At one point he even said that Caitlyn Jenner, perhaps the highest-profile transgender person, could use any bathroom she wants in Trump Tower.

Multiple transgender service members who were interviewed said they had no idea the reversal was in the works.

Their surprise stems partially from the idea that the military tends to move slowly on personnel policy. Obama ended the Clinton-era "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy toward gays in the military in 2011.

In July 2015, the Pentagon launched a formal process to consider allowing openly transgender service members. By September 2016, the Defense Department issued a 72-page handbook titled "Transgender Service in the U.S. Military," which outlined the new policy.

The policy did not cover whether the military would begin actively recruiting transgender service members. That was initially supposed to be developed by this month, but Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced that he would delay the process.

Still, most believed that existing policies would be left alone.

"The Pentagon is like an aircraft carrier, right? She doesn’t turn on a dime," said Dremann, who is also the president of SPART*A, an organization that includes roughly 500 transgender active-duty service members.

The military also does not make policy via Twitter, he said. "Our leaders don’t operate that way," Dremann said, seeming to ignore for a moment that the message came from the commander in chief. "No matter what was said, there will be a process in a legal and methodical way."

Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a memo Thursday saying there will be "no modifications" to the current policy for the time being. "We will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect," he added.

Trump’s order caused some unintended consequences — rallying support for the very population the president is attempting to ostracize.

Daniel Forester, an Army medic, said his parents have not been welcoming about his new status as a man. "My transition didn’t happen overnight," said Forester, who recently returned from a stint in Afghanistan. "I didn’t expect my family to accept my transition."

But as news spread about Trump’s tweets, Forester’s phone began buzzing. It was a cascade of text messages from his mother.

"She was saying, ‘What’s going on? Are you going to be okay?’ " he said. It was one of the few times his mother had even discussed that he is transgender since he started transitioning five years ago.

Then, later in the day, something even more surprising happened. Forester’s father also weighed in with a long post on Facebook — the first time he had ever acknowledged he has a transgender child.

And to Forester’s shock, in the post his father — a Desert Storm veteran — was defending him.

"If you believe in America then you believe in all of it," wrote Sam Forester in the post. "If you don’t agree that is fine. Sign your name on the line. Serve years of your life. Pick up a weapon and make a stand. If not respect the men and women that do and allow them to enjoy the same rights you have."


Why we should tell girls they’re ‘beautiful’ less often

For the past few months, getting my 5-year-old daughter, Emma, dressed in the morning has been a grueling ordeal. She hovers over her open dresser drawers, rapidly pulling shorts and shirts out only to immediately dismiss them.

"I have no good clothes," she’ll announce. I stood by recently as she inspected herself in the mirror. "No! This doesn’t look pretty," she wailed, pulling fiercely at her skirt. "I don’t look beautiful!" I took in her angst, and felt close to tears myself.

It dawned on me that Emma, my almost-kindergartner, is obsessed with her appearance. She hates to wear sneakers because she doesn’t think they complement her attire; she can spend 15 minutes adjusting a headband; she asks constantly about getting pierced ears.

Following her outburst, I felt guilty. I’ve been telling Emma she’s beautiful since the day she was born. And with her blue eyes and wavy brown hair, interspersed with gold strands that middle-aged women pay big bucks for — she is. I love to buy Emma clothes; I draw attention to her dolled up in a new dress, sending her to "show daddy how beautiful she looks." Relatives constantly compliment her appearance.

No wonder she’s already weighed down by the pressure to be pretty.

According to data compiled in 2015 by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that provides education and promotes safe media and technology for kids, body-image concerns start earlier than most of us might think. More than half of girls ages 6 to 8 think their "ideal body" size is thinner than they currently are. (One-third of boys feel the same way.) Preschoolers have already learned that society judges people by how they look.

Furthermore, a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that 34 percent of 5-year-old girls engage in deliberate dietary restraint at least sometimes. Twenty-eight percent of those girls said they want their bodies to look like the women they see in movies or television.

Renee Engeln, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University and author of "Beauty Sick: How the Cultural Obsession With Appearance Hurts Girls and Women" (HarperCollins 2017), tells me that to put the statistics in context, "Developmental milestones for 5-year-olds include the successful use of a fork and spoon and the ability to count 10 or more objects. . . . These are girls who are just learning how to move their bodies around in the world, yet somehow they are already worried about how their bodies look."

In her book, Engeln writes about what she calls "beauty sickness," which is what happens when girls and women get so caught up worrying about their appearance that they are too distracted to be present in other aspects of their lives.

Countless sources will tell our daughters what beauty is. As parents, we’ll never be able to shield our daughters from all those messages. But Engeln maintains that there are steps adults can take to minimize the pressures on kids. And that starts with being aware of how we talk about our own bodies.

"When daughters are very young, parents can start to build them up and inoculate them to have a firmer foundation to stand on when they get out in the world," says Engeln, who points out that little girls might not understand media references, but they certainly know what they hear their mothers talking about.

"If they hear you complain about not liking your arms or wanting to lose weight," she says, "you can bet that’s going to influence the way they think about themselves."

At home, focus on discussions that reflect your values.

"Don’t talk about how people look. Don’t spend time focusing on who looks so pretty because that sends the message that ‘pretty’ is important," Engeln says. Starting when daughters are babies, "Dress her in things that allow her to play and move rather than outfits that look pretty but may not be very comfortable. Don’t treat your daughters like decorations."

It’s OK to point out fixed attributes like intelligence and beauty, says Tara Wells, an associate professor of psychology at Barnard College, but the key is not to focus on them.

"Ask your daughter what she has learned instead of praising her looks and performance," Wells says. "Marvel at her ability to change and solve problems."

As girls get older and become more inundated with cultural standards of beauty, help them understand that there are multiple variations of beauty, says Judi Cineas, a psychotherapist in Palm Beach.

"The most effective way to nurture confidence is to nurture talents," she says. "Encourage your daughter’s mastery in the things she likes. . . . Praise her efforts as well as her successes. She should know that it is OK not to be the best at everything, and more importantly that there are things she is awesome at."

There’s long been debate about the effect on girls of playing with certain toys — Barbie in particular. But rather than forbidding particular toys, Engeln suggests, ask your daughter why she wants to play with them. Be sure she has access to different kinds of toys, activities, and sports — not just typical girl-centric classes like ballet.

For parents with both sons and daughters, try not to interact with them differently based on their gender. In one case, doing so had a positive effect on Kyrah Altman, now 21, who has two brothers and was raised by a single father in Hudson.

"I didn’t feel my dad treated me differently than my brothers. It wasn’t about being his daughter, it was just about being his kid," says Altman, now a junior in college at George Washington University who also runs a nonprofit organization called L.E.A.D. (Let’s Empower, Advocate, and Do).

"Growing up with brothers, I played baseball and hockey and wrestled with the boys. I was sort of forced to get out of my comfort zone." She also loved art projects and cooking. While people commented on her appearance — including dad, who told her she was beautiful from time to time, she said it was never focused on as the most important thing about her. "My dad was always quick to point out that I was [a] good friend, a good big sister," she says.

Be mindful of what other adults are saying to your daughter, making sure they reinforce the message you want to convey, Cineas says.

"For most people, the easiest compliment is to tell a girl she’s pretty," she says. "But when you hear that, you can interject with another more personal compliment to remind her she is more than her looks."

When I ask Engeln if I should stop telling Emma she’s beautiful, she tells me to say it less.

"Don’t tell her when she’s dressed up, with perfect hair. Because that can lead to girls worrying they are only beautiful when they don’t look like their normal selves. Think of the filters on Instagram, how people are always trying to alter their appearance for social media," she says.

"Tell her when she’s her most happiest and at ease, when she’s entirely herself."

That I can do, I think as I watch Emma running around the backyard attempting cartwheels, playing with her brother. We are just home from the beach and she’s in her bathing suit. She’s laughing and singing along with a song blaring from my phone, her hair a stringy mess from an afternoon of swimming. She is radiant.


Australia: Government makes Aboriginal problems worse, not better

According to Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, Australia remains a racist country because ethnic minorities are not perfectly statistically represented in the upper ranks of politics, the media, and business.

However, by calling for race-based quotas to end ‘Anglo-Celtic domination’ in these fields and ensure equality of outcomes based on racial-background, Soutphommasane is trivialising the issue of racism.

The real racism we confront in Australia is not how many ‘Asian’ CEOs there are. It is the reverse racism Indigenous children are subjected to in relation to child protection.

Indigenous children who need to be removed from their parents are treated differently to non-Indigenous children in ways that compromise their well-being and prospects in life — a form of racial discrimination about which ‘human rights’ activists like Soutphommasane are silent.

Thanks to our egalitarian values and modern attitudes towards race, we do not have anything that resembles a racial underclass denied equality of opportunity in this country — with one glaring exception.

The exception is the most disadvantaged Indigenous Australians who predominately live in rural and remote ‘Homeland’ communities.

Established in the 1970s under the policy of Aboriginal Self-Determination as implemented by the Whitlam government, the Homelands experiment in separatist development was designed to allow Indigenous people to return to their ‘country’ to live on their traditional lands and practice traditional culture.

In reality, however, these communities have long suffered from a well-known array of social problems — despite the billions spent on Indigenous programs and support services — including major concerns for child welfare due to high levels of child abuse and neglect.

As a result, Indigenous children are removed from their families at 10 times the rate of non-indigenous. Of the 45,000 children living into care across Australia, one-third are indigenous, and total more than 6% of all Indigenous children.

What is less well-known is how Indigenous disadvantage – appalling social outcomes in health, housing, education, and employment concentrated in rural and remote communities – is perpetuated by Indigenous-specific child protection policies.

Under the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle (ACPP) practiced in all states and territories, the preferred option is to place Indigenous children into ‘kinship care’ with relatives or local community members in the name of ensuring children maintain contact with traditional culture.

This is consistent with the separatist principles of self-determination. Yet the complying with the ACCP means that the priority given to ‘culture’ can outweigh child welfare concerns.

In Indigenous communities in which there are more maltreated children needing care than there are functional adults capable of providing suitable homes, children can end up being placed in accordance with the ACPP in unsafe kinship placements that do not meet basic standards, and into which non-Indigenous children would not be placed.

As the last inquiry into child protection in the Northern Territory (the 2010 Bath Report) found, the ACCP had justified "Aboriginal children in care receiving a lesser standard of care than non-Aboriginal children."

These findings have been echoed by the recent evidence given at the Western Australian coroner’s inquiry into high rates of Indigenous youth suicide.

The common threads in 13 cases of Aboriginal children and young people who killed themselves between November 2012 and March 2016 in the Kimberley region include family homes featuring alcohol abuse and domestic violence; long histories of safety concerns ranging from chronic neglect of basic needs to sexual abuse; and "frequent moves between households of various family members and guardians".

This is to say that, due to the ACPP, Indigenous children are taken out of the frying pan of family dysfunction only to be placed back into the fire of broader community dysfunction.

Recognising these problems, and the tragic consequences for many children, the South Australian government recently proposed an amendment to the state’s child welfare laws that would have enabled Indigenous children to escape being caught up in the present system.

The plan was to remove the application of the ACPP if an Indigenous child made an "informed choice" not to identify as Aboriginal in relation to placement decisions. This would, it follows, have allowed Indigenous children to be placed with safe and suitable non-Indigenous foster carers outside their communities.

However, the government dropped this provision from the new child protection act passed this month  in response to protests by offended Aboriginal groups,  who nonsensically argued that allowing children the right to opt-out of the ACPP "reeks of forced assimilation".

The emotive claim that upholding the ACPP will prevent another Stolen Generation may look noble.  But denying the most vulnerable children in the nation the freedom to choose to leave Indigenous communities — such as the notorious APY lands in South Australia — is deeply inequitable, and locks them out of accessing the benefits and opportunities of life in mainstream society that all other Australians take for granted.

Continued compliance with the ACPP is nothing less than a recipe for trapping another lost generation of Indigenous children in dysfunctional communities, and keeping open the gaps of Indigenous social outcomes that remain a blot on our proud national record of delivering a fair go for all.

We should take the issue of racism seriously because racism is inconsistent with the nation’s core values. Eradicating Indigenous disadvantages is the number one social challenge we face. Recognition of Indigenous children’s right to relocate, if they so wish, would protect their human right to equality of opportunity regardless of race.

A Race Discrimination Commissioner serious about eliminating real race-based social disparities should stop fretting about ‘non-Anglo’ CEO numbers, and start focusing instead on fixing Australia’s highly discriminatory child protection regime.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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