Editor’s note: The Daily Signal’s coverage and commentary on President Donald Trump’s plan to bar openly transgender individuals from military service got our audience talking, as did our examination of the role of culture in maximizing opportunity in America. Write us at email@example.com—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: Thank you to Walt Heyer for sharing his experience (“I Was Once Transgender. Why I Think Trump Made the Right Decision for the Military“). I have often wondered just how we got to this point. Changing a person’s sex doesn’t change issues any more than changing real estate cures an alcoholic.
I fully agree that our military needs the best, fittest, and most psychologically sound troops we can muster. And they deserve the same watching their backs.
Bless Walt Heyer for extending his thoughts and helping hand to others.—Diane Beatty
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I didn’t notice the author’s name, but before I got halfway through I suspected it was Walt Heyer. I scrolled back up. Sure enough. Heyer spoke at my church about his experience last year.
He reconciled with his family, and has devoted his life to speaking out against those who glorify this disorder and the abuse of adults who confuse children, as he had been confused by a grandmother who treated him like a girl.
I met him after he spoke. What a brave man to not only come back from a horrible mistake, but to publicly put himself out there and stand against the lunacy of the deranged leftist agenda.—Liz Dueck
I Was Once Transgender. Why I Think Trump Made the Right Decision for the Military.
The U.S. military is a fighting force, not a gender clinic.
Preventing all transgender individuals from serving in the military under any capacity is a step too far, and arguably unconstitutional.
Females who identify as men should be excluded from certain combat roles if they’re not physically capable. They shouldn’t shower with men, for obvious reasons.
President Trump is right about the role of the military, but this is a problem that requires a more nuanced approach.—Joseph Lee
Most of us are clearly male or female. Those who aren’t suffer from a clearly definable birth defect. Imagining one’s self to be of the sex that conflicts with one’s physical conformation is a delusion that should be treated by competent mental health professionals.—Dale Herrington
So because you’re transgender you deserve special treatment in the military, with their insurance? There are veterans out there who can’t get the help they deserve and need, and we’re going to shove you in front to have procedures done?
Which is going to take you out of commission for Lord knows how long. Then you don’t know how you will react to the hormones, and you go out into the field. And someone breathes the wrong way, and you go off and shoot them because you’re unstable.—Kim Walls
The military does deem people with medical problems unfit for service. Diabetics, asthmatics, people who have had surgical fracture repairs that involve metal—and that’s just a few exclusions.
Transgenderism is not the first medical diagnosis to be excluded, and it won’t be the last. That said, there are numerous, complicated reasons transgender individuals shouldn’t serve. If they want to serve their country, I’m sure they would be welcome in many other venues.—Dawn Barteky
Military Realities and Transgender Accommodations
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Ryan T. Anderson’s commentary (“5 Good Reasons Why Transgender Accommodations Aren’t Compatible With Military Realities“): It seems to me that people who don’t really know who they are biologically probably don’t really know who or where they are socially. This could lead to intellectual problems of perception and responses to an officer’s orders that demand actions.
This subject has more implications for what it means to be a human than it does for what it means to be an American. And socially, gender confusion is first of all a personal issue and secondly an undermining of what’s natural and acceptance of who we are at birth.
This issue is destroying the meaning of family and personhood, and denigrating other social constructs in natural society. This should not have become a political issue, but now that it is, may we deal with it objectively and open it up for public debate.—Scott Moore
Let’s not forget that advocates fought for “transgender” to become a medical condition requiring treatment so that insurers would provide some coverage. In doing so, it is now a preexisting condition. Anyone now coming forward and saying it’s not a pre-existing medical condition is contradicting the definition assigned by other transgender people.
The qualifier/disqualifier I faced as a diabetic in the military was that I might not be able to receive the medical care needed if I were in a combat zone. This may be the same issue for transgender people wishing to enlist.—Todd Zmina
My daughter tried to join the military and couldn’t due to being born without a thyroid gland. They couldn’t guarantee their ability to get her thyroid hormone to her.—P.J. Hall
The military doesn’t accept anybody who has an ongoing medical condition. My daughter was denied entrance to the Army because she had eczema on her hands. A nephew was involuntarily released from the military after 15 years of service because he had a bad back. (And no, he did not receive a pension; I think you have to be a congressman to get that.)—Kathy Kearny
The whole attitude of “You will change your longstanding rules to accommodate my dysfunction” flies in the face of what it means to be a service member.
Men and women throughout history have given up family, friends, better-paying jobs, and their life itself for the privilege of serving their country. If service means that much to you, keep your personal life personal.—Russell Dyess
Radical Feminism and the Transgender Movement
Dear Daily Signal: In response to Scott Yenor’s commentary (“How Radical Feminism Sowed the Seeds of Our Transgender Moment“), what I find interesting—and don’t see discussed—is that the transgender movement is based on reinforcing traditional gender roles.
Huh? Well, if there were not gender-based assumptions and norms for behaviors, then anyone regardless of biology (sex) could behave any way they liked, free to express themselves as an individual.
Biological males would wear a dress if they felt more comfortable; women already wear trousers. Anyone could wear makeup or not. No worries. Those are individual choices.
But the transgender movement says that someone born male actually can decide to be a woman (or the reverse). So my question is: Without societal norms and roles as a landing zone, what does it mean to “be a man” or “be a woman?”
The transgender movement reinforces these societal norms as gender-based, and defining that line gives them something to cross—and fight about.
Personally? Wear whatever you want, act “masculine” or “feminine,” and just accept the tact that your biology does not align with traditional roles. And that’s OK. But I surmise that the transgender movement is more about individuals not accepting themselves, rather than external factors.—Steffan Callosa
I don’t see transgenderism as a mental disorder. I see it as a moral disorder. I do not judge transgenders, gays, or lesbians. If they want to live their lives as such, that is perfectly fine with me. I don’t care what they do in their bedrooms.
What I do have a problem with is their philosophy being pushed on our children, and the indoctrination of our children in kindergarten. Adults like myself have no alternative but to homeschool.
Although the idea seems to be taught as one of social, individual choice, it comes across as a religion that is being pushed onto the public. And our children don’t have the capability to think critically that they are being brainwashed or to question what they are being taught. This is a form of mental and emotional abuse.
Advocates of transgenderism, same-sex marriage, adoptions by gays, and so on say that people like me are the abusers because we raise our children in their born chromosomal beings. But they in truth are the abusers for teaching to children a form of their own deviance, or difference, and telling them it is completely normal.
I am not so naive to think I will win the battle of my beliefs (Romans 1:26-28). This world eventually will be turned over to who it belongs to, and people like myself will be persecuted for our beliefs—censored, labeled, marked—simply because we believe in biblical principles.—Polly Vance
If women want to prove they are equal to men, then they have to back the transgender lifestyle. And if they are going to back that, then we have to go further and say there are no separations in anything, including sports.
Once we agree to no separation of genders, we have to have competition based strictly on performance. And once we agree on the qualifications, we will conclude that naturally born men in the majority of cases are physically superior to naturally born women. And we would have to conclude that for most sports men are superior to woman.
That would lead us back to the natural conclusion of the weaker sex. No matter how you word it, women and men are not equal in all aspects of life. You cannot just decide your own sex.—Thomas Smith
You can debate about your realities, but at the end of the day you’re not changing minds, you’re molding children. It’s always about the children. The progressives have a stranglehold on education, pushing their normal. And those that can’t have children naturally target children for their selfish needs.—Bill Chilton
Why is it they want to use pseudoscience to forward their climate change agenda, then turn around and deny science for this agenda? Common Core math + liberal logic = ?—
J.D. Vance on Culture’s Role in the American Dream
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance’s commentary (“The American Dream Is in Crisis“): Yes, the culture should not be ignored in a plan to successfully move toward restoring hope and eventually improved economic conditions for more people.
The culture cannot be changed by conservatism alone; all potential sources should be enlisted to re-instill the idea of “dare to dream.” That is an early stage of hope.—Edward Scott Jr.
Culture, which would include family and community expectations for individuals, is important. It seems middle-class kids in functional families are expected to go to college and succeed. Others may have much lower expectations and be limited by them.
We tend to live up to what is expected of us. If not much is expected, not much will be tried. This is a generalization, but I think in part this is what is being talked about.—Kathleen Robinson
Convincing impoverished Americans to embrace a successful cultural example, like making a two-person family of a male and a female, diligently modeling hard work and hard studying when given the opportunity is not the cool, “sick” thing to do.
Anytime a culture denigrates history and using valid cultural models, the culture will decline; if large enough, the decline will take down the whole civilization.
Take the past 40 years of American culture as an example. Not sure President Trump and the current support culture he has will be able to pull this nation back from the abyss.—
Talking About Culture and Opportunity
Dear Daily Signal: Genevieve Wood’s on-camera interview of J.D. Vance is one of the best thought-provoking pieces coming out of The Daily Signal and The Heritage Foundation (“‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Author Outlines Ways to Increase Opportunity“). I can relate. I was so fortunate as to come from a large, extended, traditional, and conservative ethnic family.
Our East European grandparents all worked hard to assimilate into American culture and values at the end of the 19th century. It was not easy. I’m also from a long line of hardworking and proud coal miners.
America today is diverse. Our great Republic owns many cultures, mostly good. I would like to read more about Vance’s follow-on book that presents conservative solutions.
The “up by your bootstraps” solution has not made a difference eliminating poverty and hopelessness. Today, cutting government welfare is thought to force the bootstrap solution–burn down the “hammock.” The call to get married only falls on the ears of the choir.
Economics matter most. No one—conservative, libertarian, independent, or progressive—is calling for reforms of Milton Friedman’s “freedom capitalism” that puts profits over people.
There is something out there called “enlightened capitalism,” where people matter. It addresses the needs of all stakeholders, including workers, marketers, vendors, creditors, customers, communities, and owners/shareholders. Think Main Street first. “America First” will follow.—John Kominitsky
In the book “Dangerous” by Milo Yiannopoulos, one of the best chapters is about how conservatives lost, rather never really fought, the war for culture.
There is a point here that many conservatives do not get that is tied into the ideas being expressed in this article. And it lies somewhere between the “it takes a village” notion that Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed and pretending that only individual effort counts.—Karen Lee Mack
Man is now omnipotent? The sad truth is humans have become educated derelicts who know less than 1 percent of nothing in the grand scheme of things. Thinking that government is the solution to our salvation from ourselves is misdirected at best.
At my advanced age, I have been witness to 95 percent of all technology since records have been kept, and we have touched only the tip of the iceberg. Technology, however, cannot substitute for morality and ethics.—Carl Smith
Why is the American dream in jeopardy? The big four: 1) the big, unconstitutional federal government; 2) a women’s movement that destroys families, kills tens of millions of babies, lowers our standard of living, and erodes a peaceful, happy, strong society; 3) enabling rather than remedying dysfunctional black culture; and 4) the rise of the gay agenda.—Jim Newell
The Welfare State’s Opportunity for Conservatives
Dear Daily Signal: What values are being taught in schools? I ask after reading Ken McIntyre’s report on J.D. Vance’s appearance at The Heritage Foundation (“Failed Welfare State an Opportunity for Conservatives, ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Writer Argues“).
Liberals have ruined so many of our schools that many see the only option is charter schools. I detest this idea. We have paid dearly for our schools and need to return them to their purpose—educating our children.
Children cannot be educated in Wild West classrooms. Discipline is a must. Kids need to respect their teachers, their classmates, their schools, and themselves.
Where does it start? At home. Time to end the idea of U.S. taxpayers as baby daddy. Give a one-year notice and then no more pay to have babies. Put the responsibility where it lies, with the male and female who made the baby.
All it would take is one generation of young men being held accountable for their friends to see what it takes and alter their behavior. The liberal Dems will cry “racist,” but they will no matter what. This change will affect whites and blacks, so race will not be a real issue. Tough love.—Bennie Sprouse
Turns out, as Heritage’s “2017 Index of Culture and Opportunity” shows, that whatever it is that makes a strong nuclear family also makes strong, productive citizens. Who knew?
It also appears that the American free enterprise system creates more wealth and stability for all citizens than any other economic system that has ever been tried since the beginning of recorded history.
With proper oversight, to avoid the excesses of pure, unrestrained capitalism, our nation has created a better lifestyle for all of its residents than anything else that has ever been tried. Our problem is that we have allowed government growth with runaway regulatory excess.—Bill Tanksley
We don’t have an issue of poverty in this country. We have an issue of priorities, or rather a lack of them. How did we go from providing for our children to allowing the state to do it so we can spend hundreds of dollars on a tattoo?
Too many of the “poor” have no money to feed their children, or even the will to do so, often leaving that up to free meal programs at public schools. But they have plenty of time and money to get tattoos and piercings, smoke cigarettes, drink, and use drugs. They also have plenty of time to get into trouble, further costing the taxpayers with their incarcerations.
Owning a house in a transient area with lots of rental properties, many of them HUD rentals, has shown me firsthand how much the “poor” lack real priorities to create a stable environment with a chance at upward mobility for themselves and their children.
Unfortunately, the solution, to enact workfare requirements or cut off benefits, won’t hurt the parents. It will only further destabilize the lives of children who are already in an unstable situation.—Carmen Sepulveda
Welfare, as with almost all federal socialized programs, is a huge failure. This includes not only food stamps, but Social Security and Medicare as well. There is a finite limit to how long they can be sustained.
Once that limit has been reached, there will be next to nothing left for anyone. Just how that is supposed to “help” anyone is beyond me. These are all closed, dead-end systems, with no thought of helping people get on their feet and taking care of themselves, just more government handouts and a never-ending cycle of dependency.
It has been stated before, over and over, that socialism does not work; it never has and it never will. History proves this, but liberals will forever try to disprove these facts.—Bob Terrell
We are beginning to see that conservatives and Republicans in Congress may not want to effect any change. Not many politicians will voluntarily relinquish control back to people. In this respect, they are not much different from the liberals.
It is a culture war, and people must take charge of themselves and encourage others to do the same. Washington will not save us.—Tejon Law
How Are We Doing?
The Daily Signal is wonderful. Thanks so much for your daily news. I am so glad I signed up. But I saw nothing about President Trump’s “performance” at the recent Boy Scouts Jamboree. He gave a political, rambling speech to children. Hello. If Trump had stuck to how Scouting produces good citizens and leaders for the future, I believe he would have served himself much better.—Susan Rose
You’re doing great. Just keep making sure you keep vetting what you send me, and you’ll.be good in my book. I had some people calling you fake and I gave them your e-mail if they wanted to question you.—Boyd Herrst
Excellent. Do not yield to the mainstream media, nor the atheistic criminal leftists, nor the RINO jackals in Washington. Keep up the good work.—Palmetto Tower Co.
I think you are doing well, overall. Adding additional factual world news pieces would help build your readership.—Kay Carson
It’s so wonderful to know what you put out is the truth. I’ve been a member of The Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club for 26 years. —Sandra Odhner