President Trump’s Transgender Military Ban Is an Affront to the Core Tenets of the US Military

This morning, on the 69th anniversary of President Harry Truman desegregating the military, President Donald Trump announced via a series of three tweets that the United States will no longer allow transgender Americans to serve in the military.

As a reconnaissance platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne and executive officer in Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) who has deployed to Afghanistan, I can say with confidence that this reversal of policy is not only cruel and immoral — it’s also a violation of American values with no basis in facts.

One of the core aspects of the military is its openness to those who want to serve in something greater than themselves. It is a path offered to those wishing, and
willing, to act on their patriotism. To discourage or bar those who meet the physical and academic standards from having that choice is imprudent.

History has proven time and time again that restrictions against certain groups joining the military, such as African-Americans or Japanese-Americans, are self-defeating. The results of lifting these arbitrary restrictions have always been the same. The reasons given for the restrictions never came to fruition, were based on fear and prejudice, and the military was ultimately stronger based on a swell of new applicants and diversity in its ranks.

I served in the military while “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) was still the law of the land. The effects were brutal. Because the Army institutionally discriminated against gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans, a message was sent that homophobia and biphobia were acceptable. Young soldiers coming in were exposed to this, and internalized oppression was validated and perpetuated. And who could blame them as they looked up to leadership and the governing rules to learn how to properly conduct themselves. Repealing DADT started to erode that phenomenon, helping to create an atmosphere of acceptance for gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members in the military.

Another reason to reject Trump’s transgender military ban is that it is antithetical to the core tenets of the military’s esprit de corps.

In my unit in the 82nd Airborne, the brigade and troop commander were both Black, as many as a quarter of the enlisted soldiers were Latino, and the general population of my troop was ethnically and religiously diverse.

I actually had to sit and think long and hard to remember the racial, ethnic, and religious makeup of my brigade. That’s because when the pressure is on, you don’t care about the race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the soldier next to you. That’s one aspect I loved deeply about the military. That is what makes the military strong. Banning a group from joining it damages that dynamic.

According to a White House official, Trump’s ban on transgender Americans serving in the military is a political ploy to help Republicans win seats in Congress. But transgender people are not political puppets whose lives are to be played with. (Full disclosure: my brother, Chase, is trans and a lawyer with the ACLU.) This ban affects real people. Over 15,000 transgender Americans currently serve in the military.

But now, their livelihoods are at stake. And young Americans who want to bravely serve their country are being told that they aren’t deserving of that right simply because of who they are — people like my brother. This only contributes to the existing stigma that drives
nearly half of transgender youth to attempt suicide.

This is not about politics. This is not about military readiness or cost. This is a calculated decision to discriminate against an already vulnerable group of people, one that will have devastating effects for countless Americans.

As a veteran, as a human being, as the uncle to my transgender brother’s child, I won’t accept this. We can do better. I learned as much through my service.

Add a comment (62)
Read the Terms of Use

Anonymous

It is a debasement of the female gender to claim that a man can get pregnant and give birth. Transgenders are reducing women to nothing more than female stereotypes and the external parts that can be seen in a Playboy centerfold because that's the only parts Trans"women" can copy. Its sick and disgusting that biological males are being allowed to set the clock back on women and undo 100 or so years of progress. Its really sick and disgusting that they have the might and money of the "feminists" and ACLU helping them.

Anonymous

Just my take,
If there is no separation between the genders thats all good.
I personally don't agree with it, (but thats meaningless)
I know more than a few woman that could kick my ass up and down the street. We all wear (or wore in my case) the same uniform.
The caveat , physically and mentally everyone would have to hit the current mens standards, With no special exceptions or waivers period. that goes for medical conditions, medications, mental stability etc. its the same for every one period.
I don't think that it is the tax payers responsibility or duty, to pay for them to receive hormone treatments or surgeries, thats all elective and is on the individual. you want to be treated equally here you go.....

with all that said, if they start letting in boy's who think they are girls, and girls who think they are boys does that open the door to the lady who things she's a cat, or that lizard person thinggy?
or is she crazy for thinking she's a cat or that lizard thing for thinking what ever they are, are they anymore crazy than the boy that thinks he's a girls ? i don't think so, But my opinion doesn't matter.....

Mike

Your opinion does matter, but I think it's kind of misguided. Gender ambiguity is real and occurs in nature, in our species and in others. Species ambiguity is not a real thing. It's the same argument as "If we allow same-sex marriage next people will want to marry their pets." It's a false equivalence. Homosexuality is not a perversion, it's an innate preference. My best advice to you would be to meet and talk to, or at least read more about, some transgendered people. I think you would see that they didn't just one day decide to live difficult, stigmatized lives on a whim. They just are who they are and want to be themselves without penalty, like you or me.

Anonymous

To the core of my person do not care who anyone sleeps with, marries etc, I also don't care what you dress like, be a purple butterfly if you like!! It none of my business and has no effect on my life. (Where i do draw the line on this, I would truly prefer that my nieces use a bathroom / lockers, WITH OUT biological men/boys present ). for me personally, I don't care, just don't pee on me and we are all good.

My comment was directed at degrading the standards both physically and mentally of the armed forces. full stop.
does the biologically female candidate who identifies as a man, what standards are they held to ?
flip it, and answer the same. If there is no gender, why different standards ? each soldier should be held to the highest standard i.e. the current standards for men.

Anonymous

Quit deleting my comments,
I have not said anything offensive, or derogatory.
Everyone, EVERYONE should be held to the same standards.
If you don't agree with that, you are not looking for fair treatment you are demanding special treatment.
and that is an affront to the entire cause.....
Tax payers should not pay for them to receive hormone treatments or reasingment surgeries, .
do they pay for Females breast augmentations , or vaginal rejuvenation or for males to get penis enlargements. NO thats all elective get it, equal treatment for everyone ...

Anonymous

Trans surgeries are already not covered. And the military spends at least 5 x on erectile dysfunction treatment than it would for trans-related healthcare costs. Do a little reading before you ignorantly comment.

To Anonymous wh...

They are covering surgery and hormones through tricare. Military insurance.

Personal opinion is they need to regulate the physical transitions to only take place after their services. That would solve a lot of grief from the issues arrising.

Anonymous

I agree with you!!! For the person who compared erectile dysfunction, to penis to vagina surgery or vagina to penis.... you are a no brain liberal. Erectile dysfunction is a medical problem that occurs naturally. I have never known a natural case of penis to vagina.

Grunt

I wish they would pay for penis enlargements!!!! As for the trans stuff, as soon as everyone has to do the male standard I don't care who joins me.

Anonymous

So that "Speak Freely" at the top is just for show. Or does that mean that you can shout whatever you want at your computer but the ACLU will censor typed comments. Somehow I can't see them letting the government get away with reasoning like that in a court case.

Pages

Stay Informed