Military Could Court Martial Troops Over Pronouns

( – Military service members could face formal punishment including court-martials for using pronouns that conflict with the preferred gender of other personnel. According to an Equal Opportunity law from 2020, military personnel could be charged with harassment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for using pronouns based on biological gender instead of those chosen by transgender individuals.

Military experts such as Captain Thomas Wheatley are concerned this policy infringes on the Constitutional rights of service members. Captain Wheatley from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point said that even though the law does not explicitly define rules against “misgendering” or using the incorrect pronouns for a person’s preferred gender, the guidance does imply that using pronouns specifically rejected by an individual could be construed as harassment and a violation of the Military Equal Opportunity regulations.

Wheatley agrees the military should protect the rights of transgender service members, but should also protect the Constitutional rights of members with different beliefs to uphold their conscience. Under the current regulations enforced by the UCMJ, personnel could be court-martialed for refusing to use another person’s self-chosen pronouns, even if it goes against their own personal religious convictions.

This policy is enforced even when service members are off-duty or inside their homes located off-post. Wheatley explained that personnel could be held accountable under Article 134 of the UCMJ which is used to prosecute for child sexual abuse materials and similarly deviant crimes as “conduct unbecoming of an officer.” Wheatley emphasized that under current regulations it is now “unbecoming” for personnel to openly hold religious convictions about human creation.

Wheatley has been expressing concern over this policy update since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Bostock v. Clayton for being fired on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender.

Wheatley and other experts believe Congress should “step in” before the updated policies are taken to extremes.

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