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Army chaplain calls transgender people ‘mentally unfit,’ ‘ill’ on Facebook – now he’s under investigation

U.S. Army Chaplain Capt. Andrew E. Calvert in training at Grafenwohr Training Area, Germany, April 20, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Visual Information Specialist Gertrud Zach)
January 27, 2021

A U.S. Army chaplain is under investigation after criticizing the idea of allowing transgender people to serve in the military and calling them mentally ill in a Facebook post.

Officials with the 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) at Fort Hood, Texas are looking into comments made by chaplain Maj. Andrew Calvert, on an Army Times Facebook page post on Monday. The Army Times post linked to an article about President Joe Biden’s Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s support for overturning a ban on allowing transgender people to serve. The Army Times has since reported on the controversy that began on its Facebook page.

Calvert commented, “How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve? There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The motivation is different, but the argument is the same. This person is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!”

Calvert’s comments came the same day Biden overturned the Trump-era transgender troop ban. Trump informally announced the ban in 2017, and the policy was officially implemented in April 2019, barring any individual receiving treatment for gender dysphoria from serving.

Gender dysphoria is the official term for a condition consisting of an individual’s conflict between their perceived gender and their sex at birth. The American Psychiatric Association states, “Some people who are transgender will experience ‘gender dysphoria,’ which refers to psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity.”

Under the Trump-era order, service members who identified as transgender but had not received a gender dysphoria diagnosis or treatment were eligible to continue serving, but only by their biological sex.

Responding to a Military Times request for comment from his unit, Army Maj. Jefferson T. Grimes, a 3rd SFAB spokesman, said, “We are aware of Maj. Calvert’s social media post on the Army Times Facebook page. The matter is currently under investigation. We support the commander in chief, secretary of defense and all DoD 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.”

The Army’s Security Forces Assistance Command also addressed Calvert’s comments in a tweet Tuesday. The account reiterated the “Think, Type, Post” policy and said, “We are aware of the recent comments posted to the Army Times Facebook in regard to the ban being removed on transgender service members. This incident is under investigation.”