On Saturday, during a speech at the Veterans Town Hall in Iowa GOP presidential hopeful and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson said he had nothing against women who want to join the military as long as they met all physical standards.
But when he was asked about transgender people that wish to serve in the armed forces, Carson said that the U.S. military should not become a ‘laboratory for social experimentation.’
He added that there are other things that we should focus on and that on the battlefield, where our men and women are risking their lives, the last thing we should be worried about is the military transgender service.
“You know, give me a break. Deal with the transgender thing somewhere else,”
Carson also said.
He is also convinced that the best solution to the issue should be the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which banned gays from joining military ranks between 1993 and 2011. The policy, which was introduced by President Bill Clinton, prevented openly gay people from joining the U.S. armed forces.
Carson’s remarks are a response to the U.S. government initiative to create an infrastructure to incorporate transgender people in the military. The initiative is now getting close to its deadline, which was imposed by the Department of Defense this summer.
Although Clinton’s policy barred LGBT members from coming out while they are active members of the U.S. military, reports show that about 15,000 transgender people serve in the U.S. military, though they keep their gender identity secret.
Five months ago, the Defense Department announced that the Pentagon would fund a research group to analyze the policy and implications of allowing these people to openly serve in the military. The group had six months to reach its goal and the clock is ticking.
On Saturday, Carson was puzzled by some women’s wish to serve in ‘dirt and slime’ while in combat positions, but he said he had nothing against their wish to join Army ranks.
Nevertheless, he also said that in a combat role no one is interested in the troops’ sexuality, but on how to repel the enemy. So, in that context, he doesn’t see the point of ‘flaunting around’ one’s gender identity or sexual preferences.
When asked on the Pentagon’s recent decision to open all combat positions to women, Ben Carson stated that he wouldn’t say no to women since he owes all his success to them. But he pointed out that they also need to meet some standards, which by no means should be lowered.
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