I had about two seconds this morning between grading final essays (tomorrow I move on to the stack of final exams) to take a peek at Andrew Sullivan's blog, where I found this gem. The United States military, in its infinite wisdom, not only doesn't allow gay/lesbian soldiers into its ranks, but if anyone happens to not have intact genitalia or fully "normal" reproductive function, sorry no! You cannot join up and fight to defend our country's sometimes ridiculous policies. (Hey, and maybe that's a good thing.) According to Hilzoy, here is a list of stuff from the Army's Standards of Medical Fitness that will keep you right out of the military:
*Women who experience unusually heavy menstrual bleeding, or bleeding at irregular intervals, or no periods at all.
*Women born without a uterus.
*In men, "Current absence of one or both testicles, either congenital (752.89) or undescended (752.51) is disqualifying."
*And, for both men and women: "History of major abnormalities or defects of the genitalia such as change of sex (P64.5), hermaphroditism, pseudohermaphroditism, or pure gonadal dysgenesis (752.7) or dysfunctional residuals from surgical correction of these conditions is disqualifying."
So let's get this straight. If a woman has, say, fibroid tumors--and that is incredibly common--she can't sign up. If a guy has, say, an undescended testicle, which affects nothing other than lowering his fertility, he can't sign up.
I wonder what the policy is for soldiers fighting in Iraq who, say, get a testicle blown off?