A military chaplain is under investigation after posting a Facebook comment calling transgender people “mentally unfit” and “unqualified to serve” in the armed forces.
Maj. Andrew Calvert, chaplain for the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Hood, Texas, made the comment Monday on the Army Times Facebook page in response to a story about new Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s support for lifting the transgender military ban. President Joe Biden signed an executive order ending the ban later that day.
“How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve,” Calvert wrote. “There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”
A trans person “is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen,” he continued. “What a waste of military resources and funding!” (Studies have indicated, however, that transition-related care for trans military members comes at a far lower cost than some other types of medical care.)
Several commenters on Facebook and Twitter objected to Calvert’s remark, but on Twitter he defended his position as “not extreme in the slightest” and “the very definition of conservative.” To recognize someone’s illness is a compassionate thing to do, he said, giving the example of recognizing that an alcoholic needs help. He called being transgender a “delusion” and said those who affirm a trans person’s identity are catering “to make-believe social whims of the moment” and that doing so is “idiocy.”
His supervisors have begun taking action. “We are aware of Maj. Calvert’s social media post on the Army Times Facebook page,” Army Maj. Jefferson T. Grimes, a spokesman for the chaplain’s brigade, told Military Times via email. “The matter is currently under investigation. We support the commander in chief, secretary of defense and all [Department of Defense] policies and directives.”
Grimes added, “We direct our soldiers to ‘Think, Type, Post’ when engaging in conversations on social media platforms and to follow DoD policies and regulations. When our online conduct does not follow these rules and regulations, we investigate and hold individuals accountable if they are found to be in violation.”
Kristin Beck, a former Navy SEAL who came out as transgender after leaving the military, told the paper that service members’ gender identity is none of Calvert’s business. “Chaplains should support all troops and their belief systems,” she said. “And if they don’t, they are constitutionally in conflict.”