Transgender equality, unfortunately, isn’t the final frontier

In today’s Daily, columnist Cristopher Bautista responds to The Review’s recent pro-ROTC editorial. Bautista writes:

The only way that the military can be improved for us transgender people is if we are allowed to participate ourselves and make choices for ourselves. The National Center for Transgender Equality, the premiere national transgender advocacy organization, has released a statement in solidarity with efforts to prevent the return of ROTC to Stanford on the basis of continued discrimination against transgender people.

I would ask [this thought question](<a href=): As a government institution insulated from outside pressures, the military will always lag behind society in its acceptance of minority groups. When the military fully accepts transgender individuals, I am certain that some other group will still experience discrimination (whether by disparate treatment or disparate impact). Are you, then, permanently opposed to ROTC, or do you see some acceptable level of military discrimination where it would be a net benefit for Stanford to have ROTC?

Yes, this is a leading question.

If the former, then you believe any amount of discrimination taints an entire organization. Stanford currently discriminates against transgender people in most student housing (including study abroad housing), so should we not advocate a boycott of housing and study abroad programs? I’ll bet the CoHo doesn’t offer domestic partner benefits to polygynous employees; should we not boycott the CoHo? Few would advocate for such boycotts. Why? What is the difference between these situations, where discrimination doesn’t warrant a boycott, and ROTC, where it does? Are you not applying this principle more strictly to the military than to other organizations?

If, however, you see some acceptable level of military discrimination where it would be a net benefit for Stanford to have ROTC, then you believe that we can marginalize some groups but not others. We must insist on transgender equality, but perhaps polygynous equality is not so important compared to the benefits of ROTC. Why? How do we know when it’s OK to marginalize group A but not group B?

(I want to state clearly, as I have many times before, that I think the military’s–or anyone else’s–discrimination against transgender individuals is senseless and wrong.)

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