All of America's allies dropped their bans on LGBT military service in the 1990s, including transgender service. There were no exceptions, everyone could serve, period. Meanwhile, at that time, the United States of America instituted Don't Ask Don't Tell, which made serving while gay a mandated secret and didn't even include nor mention transgender service. Now at this late date in world history, our military leaders are dithering to delay open transgender service yet again. It makes my eyes bug out in incredulity!
Way back in the 1990s I was riding on a packed Israeli intercity bus on a busy Friday afternoon. Its a tiny country which can be traversed from the Lebanese boarder to the Negev in about 5 hours, and so there's a weekly rush of folks going home for the weekend by bus every Friday afternoon. At one stop outside a military base out in the middle of nowhere, a young soldier going home for the weekend like everyone else, got on the bus. He had his Uzi machine gun slung upside down on his back Israeli style; in uniform, short hair, and had on a ton of eye mascara! I looked around the bus at the usual assortment of Israelis, ultra orthodox, secular, male, female, young and old. Every last one was totally unfazed, they'd seen all that before, it was nothing to get excited about. Whenever anyone gets on a bus in Israel, everyone looks up to urgently decide if they are a security threat. Once they decide the person is safe, everyone looses interest, period. Israelis have one single priority: Security! Whatever else is going on, if its not a security threat, it simply doesn't matter. They go back to yawning and reading their newspapers. So the male soldier is wearing mascara; he's not a security threat, so it doesn't matter. That's their attitude. I was the only one with my mouth hanging open, blown away by the sight. I realized then that Israel was way ahead of America in progress. Over there, in the 1990s already, a trans soldier could feel safe and free to put on some makeup mascara before heading home on public transit. While America spent decades banning gay service, in Israel nearly everyone has to serve, being gay or trans was never an excuse. Israeli men aren't afraid of queer folks, they're secure in their masculinity; so serving alongside someone who is gay, trans, Russian, Norwegian, Spanish, or whatever isn't a problem.
Under the previous American administration, the Pentagon led the way in integrating gay and lesbian service members into our armed forces, and had begun to do the same for transgender patriotic volunteers wanting to serve our nation. Now, suddenly the Joint Chiefs have begun to raise all the old obsolete objections again to urge a delay in affirming transgender service. All of our allies lifted their bans decades ago, pragmatically, straightforwardly, without fuss, and ran into zero problems. Budgetary analysts figured out that it would not cost very much at all; not too many trans folks would be clueless enough to suffer boot camp and deployment to seriously dangerous places to be able to go to the head of the line for transitional services. Like everyone else, those who volunteer really want to serve. The available uniform fashion choices are not particularly fabulous either. Desert camo, jungle camo, blue water camo, please, give me a break!