Female military recruit forced to shower with biological men afraid to speak out, senator warns

Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch
Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

A female military recruit felt strong discomfort about showering and sleeping beside biological men but feared that raising her concerns with the Department of Defense's policy would negatively impact her military career, according to a report shared by a U.S. senator.

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., shared the report during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week about the unnamed woman after the South Dakota National Guard adjutant general informed him of the situation. 

The senator explained that the young woman encountered a situation during basic training where she had to sleep in open bays and shower with biological men undergoing the process of identifying as females. While the pair had not yet altered their sex through surgery, they were still documented as women because they had started chemical interventions to change their sex. 

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According to Rounds, the 18-year-old felt "uncomfortable," but she didn't know how to handle the situation, fearing that she'd face "retaliation" for speaking out. The senator noted that the woman faced "limited options." 

"If she raised her hand, she feared she'd be targeted for retaliation," Rounds said. "She could have recycled, which would have delayed her freshman college start and would not have provided a guarantee of a different situation. She could request to leave the Guard for religious purposes and not be able to pursue her dream of serving our country."

The committee's purpose last week was to hold a confirmation hearing for Gen. Charles Brown Jr., the current chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, who President Joe Biden selected to serve as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman. Rounds asked Brown how he would handle a situation like this one. 

"Senator, one of the things I've thought about throughout my career, as you're being inclusive, you also don't want to make other individuals uncomfortable," he said. "And so, there's areas as we look at our policies and approaches and get feedback like this we have to look and see if we can improve on how we approach situations like this." 

Brown indicated that this is something that he has done throughout his career, and he will continue to do so.

In a statement given to The Christian Post, a Department of Defense official said that it is the policy of the department that all service members "must be treated with dignity and respect." 

"We would encourage any National Guard member who's feeling uncomfortable or has concerns to work it through their chain of command," the official stated.

As Rounds noted during the hearing, Brown's nomination comes amid an ongoing "recruitment crisis," which the senator noted is the largest one in the 50-year history of the U.S. Department of Defense's all-volunteer force. 

Regarding the reason for the crisis, some have speculated that the DoD has lost conservatives' trust due to a perceived liberal bias at the top and the embrace of certain policies.

The Biden administration's policies, such as reversing the previous administration's order prohibiting trans-identifying individuals from military service, prompted backlash from some sources. 

In July 2017, former President Donald Trump announced that he had reversed the Obama administration's policies on trans-identified people serving in the military, citing the cost of paying for elective cosmetic surgeries and cross-sex hormones, estimated to be around $2.4 million and $8.4 million each year. 

"Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail," Trump tweeted at the time. 

Biden reversed the Trump-era policy in 2021, signing an executive order "that sets the policy that all Americans who are qualified to serve in the Armed Forces of the United States should be able to serve." 

Lt. Gen. Tom Spoehr, director of The Heritage Foundation think-tank's Center for National Defense, condemned the decision in a statement to CP. The policy expert accused the Biden administration of prioritizing "political correctness" over military readiness. 

"By overturning the current policy regarding individuals suffering from gender dysphoria, the commander in chief is signaling that he is more interested in social engineering than safeguarding the health and well-being of American service members," Spoehr said. 

"After considerable study, the previous administration found gender dysphoric people attempt suicide at about nine times the rate of the general population. Service members diagnosed with gender dysphoria are also nine times more likely to have mental health encounters with a professional."

The military veteran highlighted the stressful nature of the job, noting that the suicide rates among military personnel are already higher than that of the general population.

"It would be immoral to place individuals at higher risk from mental injury — such as those suffering from gender dysphoria — in a situation where they are likely to experience extraordinary stress," he said.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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