Ben Carson Is Wrong On Female & LGBTQ Involvement In The Military

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On Saturday, Ben Carson told veterans at an event in Waterloo, IA, that the military is not the place to deal with the whole “transgender thing.” “I do not appreciate using our military as a laboratory for social experimentation,” Carson told the Concerned Veterans for America at a Veterans and Military Town Hall. “We have too many important things to do when our men and women are out there fighting the enemy, the last thing we need to be doing is saying, ‘What would it be like if we introduced several transgender people into this platoon?’” Carson went on to say that he supported the outdated Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy. “I liked the old ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ philosophy,” Carson said. “Why do you have to go around flaunting your sexuality? It’s not necessary. You don’t need to talk about that. We need to talk about how we eliminate the enemy.” President Bill Clinton originally enacted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in 1993. It was repealed in 2011. In July of this year, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter ordered a six-month review to figure out how to integrate transgender troops into the armed services. There are currently an estimated 15,000 transgender troops who have been forced to conceal their gender identities for fear of being discharged. And according to 2013's National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 9% of transgender service members said that they were discharged for being transgender or gender non-conforming. Despite the repeal of DADT, LGBT service members still are not afforded all the rights of their straight counterparts. This is despite the fact that there's no actual proof that allowing openly gay service members compromise military effectiveness. This baseless fear of the transgender community extends well past the military. At least 21 transgender people have been killed in the United States this year. That's more than any other year on record, according to a report by the Human Rights Campaign. This isn't Carson's first time speaking out against the trans community. Earlier this year, in an interview with Fusion's Jorge Ramos, Carson said he supported separate bathrooms for transgender people, because "it is not fair for them to make everybody else uncomfortable." At Saturday's event, Carson also voiced his opinion on combat roles being open to women. "As far as women are concerned on the battlefield, I have a tendency to want to protect women, but I also have great respect for women and all the success I’ve had in life is because of women," Carson said. "So I am never going to say no to the women, I’m not, but I am very frightened, when it comes to certain job descriptions, if we lower the standards.” He stressed the importance of maintaining "standards," saying, "If you can’t lift a 175-pound person on your shoulder and hoist them out of there, then if I’m out there, I don’t want you as my backup.” If that weren't enough, Carson went on to say, “But you know, what woman wants to go out in the front line in the dirt and slime fighting?"

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