Geoffrey R. Stone on Trump's Declaration on Transgender Persons in the Armed Forces

Trump’s Outrageous ‘Proclamation’ About Transgender Persons Serving In The Military Is Ignorant, Immoral And Un-American

As we contemplate Trump’s declaration banning transgender Americans from serving in our armed forces, it is useful to think back on our nation’s history with gays and lesbians serving in the military.

In all of our nation’s wars up until World War II, prospective soldiers were not asked about their sexual orientation. Although the Code of Military Justice prohibited any member of the armed forces to engage “in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex” – meaning oral or anal sex – there was no special rule directed at homosexuals. And although military officials in World War I were well aware of the presence of homosexuals in the ranks, they almost never court-martialed members of the military for consensual sodomy – whether same-sex or opposite-sex.

In the lead-up to World War II, however, the Selective Service for the first time instituted a policy designed to weed out prospective soldiers who were deemed psychologically unsuited for military service. Although the policy was not specifically directed at homosexuals, those charged with enforcing the policy concluded that homosexuals by definition fell within the category of those who were “psychologically unsuited” for military service.

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