A new bill presented by Democrats would make it illegal for the US Department of Defense to exclude or discriminate against transgender people from military service.
On Monday, California Democrat Rep. Sara Jacobs submitted the bill with the backing of 22 fellow Democrats. Jacobs has stated that the bill aims to “avoid future discriminatory actions” against transgender service members. However, the bill’s entire wording is not yet accessible.
Intending to codify explicit eligibility conditions for transgender individuals to serve in the military, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) submitted legislation just over a month before Jacobs’s bill.
The Republican bill, called the “Ensuring Military Readiness Act,” would bar transgender people from serving in the military unless they had been stable for 36 continuous months in their biological sex before accession. However, transgender service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria while serving could continue to do so without undergoing gender reassignment therapy or hormone therapy.
Jacobs claimed that her law would prevent future discriminatory policies like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ Trump’s restriction on transgender people serving in the military, and the bill proposed by Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Brandon Banks to reinstate Trump’s ban.
Jacobs argued that her legislation would help the military fill open positions and attract recruits. The United States Army failed to recruit as many people as needed for the 2022 fiscal year by 25 percent, or around 15,000. This was a problem across all branches of the United States military.
Human Rights Campaign, SPARTA, Modern Military Association of America (MMAA), National Center for Transgender Equality, Minority Vets, and American Veterans for Equal Rights are just some of the LGBT advocacy groups that have voiced their support for Jacobs’ bill.
Republicans and Conservatives Worry About Transgender People’s Preparedness
Rubio said President Joe Biden had turned our military into a “woke sociological experiment” in a news release announcing his Ensuring Military Readiness Act. It’s a ridiculous approach to national security.
Rubio noted that the military maintains stringent rules for eligibility, including a ban on persons with severe peanut allergies. The banks made a similar remark stating that a waiver is required for anyone who has been treated for ADHD during the two years before enlisting.
A proponent of Rubio and Banks’ bill, Heritage Action’s vice president of government relations, Ryan Walker, cited statistics showing that transgender service members face a substantially higher risk of suicide, crippling anxiety, and other mental health issues than their counterparts.
According to Walker, fewer troops will be available for deployment because of the Biden administration’s decision to accept transgender service members. Walker continued by noting that this decision will promote mistrust and uncertainty among troops who need to know they can count on individuals standing next to them when all military branches already have a recruiting and readiness problem.