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.

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Anonymous

Please, people, this is not a laughing matter. This is very serious we must take a step back and look at this. President Trump is once again in trouble. Now he is picking on the most vulnerable members of society. No matter what you believe are you going to let him kick these people out. If they military found something wrong with Transgender people and they were not doing their job let the military kick them out. I am going to leave you with some facts that you can look up if you want to starting from the final comment
It is a choice for those of us who study the complexities of biology and the human brain to inform those who are not neuroscientists so that they can understand why it is not “a choice” for transgender people; it is who they are.
http://www.ozy.com/pov/check-the-science-being-trans-is-not-a-choice/69726
Please have a nice day

Addadicktome

15,000 transgender people in the military? That's 10%

I thought the Westboro Baptist bunch were a bunch of whacked out assholes, but you LGBT people win the prize.

The military doesn't have the time or place for INDIVIDUALS who want to play make-believe on which reproductive organs they were born with.

If you're a man that likes men, a woman that likes women whatever; you're not fit to serve if you're not sure which reproductive organs you were born with.

Anonymous

Make believe? Another Trumpanzee from the peanut gallery.

Anonymous

That's a guess. Anyone in the military knows that if the military un-bans a group you shouldn't be the first to out yourself - wait a year or 3 and see what happens to everyone else. I'm still not sure its safe to admit to being a Wiccan and that ban was taken off in the mid 90s. Snopes said that about 250 have started transitioning. A few more may have told others but that is going to come down to their chains of commands.

Mark S

It's not an affront to anything. The President made a decision based on a number of logical factors, none of which are mean spirited or bigoted. I personally agree with that decision.

Shelly Haner

The "president" is not logical at all. His policies have been bordering on the insane since he took office. I don't care what someone's feelings are about transgender or LGBT ppl. Once a group of ppl have been given the privilege to serve in our armed forces they should have the honor to do so. And read what I said above! Many are in positions that when abruptly removed from their units can compromise their fellow service members. No, Trump never thought this through. Had done that, he would have taken this to the Defense Dept and discussed it, which they would have told him not to do it. By doing what he did, he has comprised lives in hot zones. He put our troops at risk because of the logistical BS it takes to rotate ppl in and out. Those in the hottest parts in combat will need to be bivouacked. Many will have to be rapidly debriefed for high classified security clearances. That takes time and certain ppl to do it. Now did Trump consider any of this? No. He got up one day, grabbed his phone and did what he does best: fire off a bunch of tweets with no forethought to the consequences of his actions. This is typical of how he runs his show and it IS a show. It's appalling because he is making transgender service members into an example.

Shelly Haner

The "president" is not logical at all. His policies have been bordering on the insane since he took office. I don't care what someone's feelings are about transgender or LGBT ppl. Once a group of ppl have been given the privilege to serve in our armed forces they should have the honor to do so. And read what I said above! Many are in positions that when abruptly removed from their units can compromise their fellow service members. No, Trump never thought this through. Had done that, he would have taken this to the Defense Dept and discussed it, which they would have told him not to do it. By doing what he did, he has comprised lives in hot zones. He put our troops at risk because of the logistical BS it takes to rotate ppl in and out. Those in the hottest parts in combat will need to be bivouacked. Many will have to be rapidly debriefed for high classified security clearances. That takes time and certain ppl to do it. Now did Trump consider any of this? No. He got up one day, grabbed his phone and did what he does best: fire off a bunch of tweets with no forethought to the consequences of his actions. This is typical of how he runs his show and it IS a show. It's appalling because he is making transgender service members into an example.

Jarredk

Even if you believe that it's not mean spirited, or bigoted, you should know the president's tweeted policy was based on misinformation. The estimated cost for transgender treatment is about 8million, however erectile meds are close to 84million. Aside from the fact soldiers in the field don't need erections, replacing 15 soldiers and training new troops would have an estimated cost of 300 million. Money is not being saved, its being wasted. He is drawing on stereotypes and prejudices to push for a political maneuver. The president is creating a smoke screen to avoid attention on all his rediculous behavior and stupidity involving Russia.

Jarredk

That's 15,000 troops. Autocorrect

Mark S

Gay ppl are not effected by this decision. Trans Gender ppl aren't being discriminated against because their physical and mental condition brings a cost to the Armed Forces,and the US Taxpayer. The Military is NOT an environment where the $cost of keeping a soldier physically combat ready is continuous then that soldier is processed for a medical discharge. Hormone therope is expensive and has sometimes comes with emotional and physical side effects. There are also integration issues that make transgender ppl inelegible for world wide deployment as normal soldiers are required to be.

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