Transgender soldiers are still soldiers

Watkins/Courier A silhouette of soldiers against the foreground of the Transgender Pride flag.

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Much like muggle born wizards striving to live fairly in spite of Voldemort’s world, many members of the transgender community have risen up to defend themselves and all genders inside the military after Trump’s insensitive transgender ban was set out.

Donald Trump has made an immense effort to ban transgender people from serving in the military throughout his presidential term as well as make it clear that his agenda will not make any positive movement for the LGBTQ community. He began by deleting LGBTQ content from the White House and state department websites immediately after taking office, and the Department of Education cut equal access to restrooms for transgender students.

What is so unfathomable about this is that these citizens have already gone through their own battles and continue to want to be a part of an even greater battle for their country. But simply because they are embracing their humanity, they are being banned from the military, restaurants, and other public and private locations. In March, Trump signed an executive order that revoked the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Act, which ultimately could leave any LGBTQ workers in a limbo because companies could then comply with their own rules instead of following the law.

“After consultation with my generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. military,” tweeted Trump. “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.” This tweet discriminated against the transgender community by overstating the amount of medical costs and so called ‘disruption.’

For starters, LGBTQ people are not a burden. Our transgender service members deserve the utmost visibility, both politically, socially, and economically. Research has shown that transition surgery is not as costly as other medications that cisgender people in the military use.

Many people have criticized Trump’s Twitter activity because he uses the social media platform seem like a credible arena to impose policies. Even Republican Arizona Senator John McCain was quick to say that Trump’s tweets should not be taken as serious action because it is a social media platform, rather than an actual political institution. “The news was very disheartening, having knowing that the work we have done in the last year and a half or the last two years is being put to question now and saying that we are not capable of serving in any capacity,” said transgender military veteran Laila Ireland during an interview.

According to the New York Times, the policy would only affect a small percentage of the 1.3 million active-duty members of the military in which 2,000 to 11,000 are transgender. In an overall sense of cost, medical expenses for transgender troops would be very minimal.

Nonetheless, this policy signals an unwelcome air to current transgender members and future applicants. Transgender Lieutenant  Commander Blake Dremann, who is a Navy supply corps officer felt as if his job were in danger when he spoke up about Trump’s new policy on CNN. Coming out is a journey that is extremely difficult to overcome, especially when the current environment stands in a limbo of right versus wrong.

“Donald Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members is facing opposition from more than 50 retired Generals and Admirals have warned Trump that this discriminatory policy would degrade military readiness and harm morale,” The Guardian stated. Their letter also stated that the implementation of the ban would cause huge disruptions and also compromise the integrity of any transgender member who would be forced to hide who they truly are.

These retired and active-duty service members have a right to stand up for their beliefs even if the military is a private place. This springs back to when people of color along with women fought to integrate themselves into the military; American civilians fighting for their rights.

The policy would only further eliminate any visibility on the LGBTQ community and other groups. Which would not be the first time in history in which this occurred. Many human rights groups have been a support for the transgender troops such as the ACLU which filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump. Their 39-page lawsuit complaint includes many Trump tweets and they argued that this policy violates the equal protection area of a due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.
All in all, this comes to show that Trump’s priorities are set on his personal agenda and is falling short on his word to be an ally for the LGBTQ community.

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