The U.S. Military Academy, which used to focus only on books, training and discipline, hosted its annual “Transgender Day of Remembrance” for cadets.
The event complements other cultural initiatives in U.S. military colleges: the Virginia Military Institute is combating stress with coloring books and therapy dogs while Annapolis midshipman enroll in a “Transgender 101” seminar.
West Point celebrated the special remembrance day on Nov. 30 — the fourth time it has done so.
Though the event is promoted on its website, the commemoration passed without any notice by the establishment media, with coverage limited to the Academy’s newspaper, Pointer View, and sparse Facebook sharing.
The transgender day is described by its founder, Gwendolyn Smith, as an “international day of action” and was originally envisioned by the graphic designer to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who died in Massachusetts in 1998.
Neither the West Point website nor an accompanying article detailing this year’s event makes any connection between that event and the mandate of West Point to educate and train young men and women to be officers in the U.S. Army. Neither was there any suggestion that discrimination against transgendered people is an issue at the Academy.
Event organizers were assisted in their efforts to mark the day of remembrance by Spectrum, a Gay/Straight Alliance Club at West Point, as well as the college’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity.
Class of 2017 cadet Riley Dosh opened the event this year by noting, “Over the past year, innocent transgender people worldwide have lost their lives due to hate crimes. Many more died due to bias and hatred based on gender identity and expression. They were killed for coming out to friends and family, for being who they are. Their lives were cut too short unnecessarily.”
Dosh insisted, “Our society, our police forces, our governments and the media largely ignore transgender hate crimes.”
Cadet Dosh was joined at the podium by the keynote speaker Amanda Simpson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for operational energy. Simpson said that she “did not want to here because we are going to read some of the names of the hundreds of transgender men and women who died of violent means in the past 12 months…But any way you count it, the fact remains; transgender men and women — especially transgender women of color — continue to experience violence at alarmingly high rates and are often targets for fatal hate violence.”
Critics of the ceremony say it is another example of how politicians have “forgotten the mission of the military is to defend the country.”
Ray Starmann, editor-in-chief of U.S. Defense Watch, told The Daily Caller the transgender remembrance is caused by “social engineers who are cultural Marxists and guys at the top who won’t put their foot down” resulting in “more political correctness.”
Said Starmann: “Thank God General [James] Mattis is coming [as defense secretary].”