Representative Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has demanded answers from the Merchant Marine Academy in Long Island following the implementation of a new policy permitting midshipmen undergoing gender transitions to request exemptions from their military service requirement.
The policy, which came into effect on October 13, sets out guidelines for the admission and education of transgender students and those transitioning while enrolled at the academy to remove barriers for those with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria or who identify as transgender.
Banks, who chairs the House Anti-Woke Caucus, spearheaded a Friday letter from lawmakers to the academy voicing their concerns.
“Our service academies are critical institutions for the security of our nation, not laboratories for the far-left’s social experiments,” Banks told The Post. “Forcing radical gender ideology on the young men and women who want to serve their country is dangerous and wrong.”
The new policy states that midshipmen with a diagnosis verifying that gender transition is medically necessary will be treated in the same manner and to the same extent as students with other medical conditions that impact their ability to enroll, graduate, and fulfill their service obligations.
According to the document, the policy was drafted in response to President Biden’s executive order in 2021 mandating all federal agencies to ensure compliance with the stated policy of containing and combating discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
It is also based on a 2021 Defense Department guideline allowing military personnel seeking gender transition to apply for a leave of absence or transfer to another unit if they are deemed unable to serve during the process.
Department of Transportation Maritime Administration spokesperson T.V. Johnson told The Post that the Merchant Marine Academy’s gender transition clause is based on that of the US Coast Guard Academy.
According to its latest transgender troop policy, the Coast Guard maintains that any consequences of the finding that a member is non-deployable will also be made in accordance with the Coast Guard standard similar to that for other members that are non-deployable for medical reasons unrelated to gender identity or gender transition.
Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), who joined Banks’ letter, called the policy radical and argued that it would lead to the exploitation of the once-pristine academies, which offer a free college education in exchange for future military service.
“Leftist transgender policies have not only infiltrated American colleges and universities but also our service academies – it must stop,” Babin said.
In the letter, which was signed by Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.), Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) and Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.), the legislators questioned the service academy as to why “gender dysphoria is considered a medically disqualifying condition?”
“We are disturbed by the policy guidelines that would allow Midshipmen who identify as transgender during their third or fourth year at USMMA to receive a medical waiver from their obligated service,” the lawmakers wrote.
“This creates a dangerous avenue for exploiting our nation’s prestigious service academies,” they added.
The new policy not only allows transgender students to qualify for a service exemption but also mandates that they be allowed to live as their chosen gender regardless of their biological sex.
Banks’ office said the provision caused concerned parents of current midshipmen to bring the new policy to the lawmakers’ attention.
One parent cited the school’s recent history of combatting sexual assault among students.
“The school has gone through great lengths to try to improve the safety regarding sexual assault on campus and out at sea. Now, this policy reverses the good work that has been accomplished,” they told The Post. “I fear for the young women that will be forced into uncomfortable positions as biological males with all of their anatomy are introduced as roommates and into the women’s communal, locker-room style showers that are at the school. Women of Kings Point should not have to compromise their safety or virtue in order to be educated at the federal maritime academy.” added the parent, who spoke on the state of anonymity out of fear of retribution.
“No accommodations will be made for them, and complaints will be viewed as honor violations, which could cost them their education and careers,” the parent continued. “With a national shortage of mariners, the school should not be eroding their recruitment base.”
Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) agreed, stating that biological men don’t belong in women’s sports, restrooms, showers, or living quarters.
“This policy puts young women, who just want to serve their country, in danger, in the places they’re supposed to be safest,” LaMalfa said.
Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) argued that given the current national security environment, with wars raging in both Ukraine and Israel, “woke ideology and social experiments cannot be tolerated, supported, or funded in any branch of our armed forces.”
“Our world is on fire due to the failed policies and weakness of the Biden administration,” Hageman said, “leaving our military unable to operate in two theaters of war concurrently.”