Do you ever get the surreal feeling you live in a movie? Today feels a bit Some Like It Hot, very Victor Victoria, considerably Juwanna Mann even.
“The Pentagon, shamefully, has yet to rescind anachronistic personnel guidelines that prohibit openly transgender people from joining in the military, labeling their condition a ‘paraphilia,’ or perversion,” the New York Times editorial board informs. “The policy has forced thousands to serve in silence, repressing an essential part of their identity.”
The fog of war is about to get foggier.
The Old Gray Lady (maybe time to administer the Crocodile Dundee Test) cites an “absence of common-sense leadership on this issue by Pentagon leaders” and claims “America’s closest allies have been pragmatic and enlightened” regarding transgenders in uniform.
Sure, and soon Alexander the Great becomes Alexandra the Great, Napoleon we discover didn’t buy all of those dresses for Josephine, and Genghis Khan invaded the Caucasus for their intolerance of transvestites. If you want to change the future start by changing the past.
The Times could substitute the complaint about mistreatment of weirdos with one about beardos. Military branches impose restrictions on facial hair and fashion and intelligence and height and weight and age and criminal record and tattoos. The Marines who planted the American Flag on Mount Suribachi, such did their uniforms repress “an essential part of their identity” that one’s mom recognized her son in the famous picture only by his familiar buttocks, weren’t big on letting their freak flags fly.
A military that admits all comers ensures many goers.
The stiffness of the military commander, like the outlandishness of the drag queen, makes him a frequent comedic prop. And the occasional overlap between these two archetypes certainly amplifies the laughter (Graham Chapman played both well). We enter a brave new world in which you’re free to mutilate your genitals but restricted from joking about those who freely mutilate their genitals.
Let Bruce be Caitlyn. Tolerance. Let Marines be Marines? Bigotry!
The debate over gender identity seeks to force a makeover on our identity as much as it seeks our endorsement of surgical makeovers. It’s not enough to tolerate the quack’s human alchemy. One must also not tolerate heretical thoughts. Dubbing transgenderism a mental illness now strikes as the mental illness. One senses that, like the medical changes, the societal transformation won’t imbue happiness upon souls troubled by something as essential, and stubborn, as biology.
Longshoreman Eric Hoffer, who complained in the mid-1960s of not knowing the sex of passersby in San Francisco, thought much about change. “The sick in soul insist that it is humanity that is sick,” Hoffer quipped in The Passionate State of Mind, “and they are the surgeons to operate on it. They want to turn the world into a sickroom. And once they get humanity strapped to the operating table, they operate on it with an ax.”
Bruce Jenner undergoes a sex change with all of America aware. All of America endures a collective lobotomy with everyone oblivious.
America is transitioning.
The decorated decathlete, such a, dare we say, gentleman that even his association with the Kardashians failed to lessen America’s opinion of him, certainly helps people to see transsexuals as people. The poster child for transsexuals in the military proves less flattering.
Bradley Manning, conspicuously absent from the Times editorial, not only committed acts of espionage against his country but caddishly allowed a transwoman by the name of Chelsea Manning to serve a lengthy prison sentence in his stead. One would imagine more humane treatment of transsexuals by other men in uniform. But the clash of something as exotic as transsexualism with the hyper-masculine military culture can’t help but create more problems than it solves.
Esprit de corps, morale, and unit cohesion (insert crude joke here) matter in a close-knit fighting force. Self-expression and “I’ve Gotta Be Me” moments? Not so much.
The military, extraordinary at defending America, boasts a less stellar track record in defending itself. The New York Times has issued the marching orders. The branches soon may need to, well, transition.
Transformers, as the Decepticons know too well, fight as a potent military force. But transsexuals?
If scarier scenes exist to Islamists than an army of transgender warriors invading their tranquil Middle Eastern village, Muhammadans have yet to witness it. Unleash the Milton Berle militia. America’s enemies, as confused by its soldiers as America itself, will never know what hit them.
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