Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) is pushing for a law to include transgender men – biological women who identify as men – in Selective Service registration. This proposal adds a fresh perspective to the conversation on gender identity and military service, a subject often marked by polarized viewpoints.
Currently, the Selective Service System stipulates that all males must register, irrespective of gender identity. “Selective Service bases the registration requirement on gender assigned at birth and not on gender identity or gender reassignment. Individuals who are born male and changed their gender to female are still required to register,” the Selective Service website declares.
Republican Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee has put forward a proposal that would require transgender men to register with Selective Service in case the nation ever has another military draft.
— Tim Gradous (@tgradous) July 8, 2023
However, biological women, even those who identify or transition to male, are not obligated to register. The current system adheres to the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA) and will remain unchanged unless Congress intervenes.
Burchett has proposed an amendment to an annual defense measure to address this perceived discrepancy. “The terms ‘male citizen of the United States’ and ‘male person’ include a transgender person who identifies as male,” Burchett’s amendment states.
Burchett expressed his stance emphatically: “If they want to be treated like men, then they need to do what other men do and register for the Selective Service and get called up like everybody else,” he said, according to Military.com. He further said that transgender men are “more protected than any other group,” implying a need for equity in the call of duty.
While the prospect of a military draft has been dormant for five decades, Burchett’s proposal seeks to adapt the Selective Service’s rules to the evolving understanding of gender. Transgender people have been permitted to serve openly in the military under their self-identified gender since the start of the Biden administration after previous restrictions were reversed.
The Tennessee lawmaker’s proposal has sparked renewed discussion around equality in military obligations. This topic has not seen significant legislative movement since the end of the military draft in the U.S. in 1973. It’s yet to be seen if Burchett’s amendment will gain the majority support it needs when the annual defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, goes before the House floor.
In a climate where issues of gender identity are increasingly prominent, Burchett’s move highlights the necessity for lawmakers to confront the complexities of modern identity politics. His proposal, however, brings more than just gender identity into focus. It questions the principles of fairness and shared responsibility in national defense and military service.
As the nation continues to evolve in its understanding and acceptance of gender identities, the implications of Burchett’s proposal could stir meaningful conversations about equality, duty, and the roles that all citizens – no matter their gender identity – play in securing our country’s safety.