On Wednesday morning, the ‘man’ who just a year ago swore he would protect LGBT rights, tweeted the following:
“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. 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.”
Let that sink in for a minute. This is in direct contrast to the tweet he made on 14 June 2016, where he wrote, “Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”
Thousands of troops currently serving in the military are transgender, and some estimates place the number as high as 11,000 in the reserves and active duty military, according to a Rand Corp. study commissioned by the Defense Department.
As a reasonably intelligent, thinking person, I ask the question … how the Sam Heck does having transgender people in the military disrupt and burden the military??? Here are some of the excuses I found in my search for an answer to my question:
- Military leaders are uncomfortable with transgender service. They fear that transgender service risks upsetting morale, especially in aggressive combat infantry units.
- It could require new rules for restrooms, showers and other day-to-day functions.
- Physical fitness requirements differ between males and females, and the military is not sure how to handle this one.
- No refrigeration for medication during deployments.
- There is a fear that if transgender personnel be allowed to serve openly, morale will be detrimentally affected.
Nothing more than a bunch of excuses. The answer to my question, just as I expected, is really nothing more than bigotry … homophobia … transphobia. To further deflate the argument is the fact that 19 countries DO allow transgender people in the military, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.
According to my research, it appears that another major reason for transphobia both within the military and society as a whole is that many unenlightened people still, in the 21st century, consider that being transgender is a mental illness. I think this is the sort of thinking that takes us back to the Dark Ages. And the broader question is … who’s next? Will Trump decide that women will not be allowed to serve? What about African-Americans? Hispanics? Or will he exclude Jews next?
What I found equally mind-numbing was a response by controversial former Breitbart employee, Milo Yiannopoulos:
“You don’t help mentally ill trans people by sticking them on the front lines. You help them with therapy and drugs — though not, I have to stress, transition surgery. I only wish he’d gone further and banned women from combat units too, since the evidence clearly shows their presence is disastrous for both morale and performance. Baby steps?”
Trump’s transphobic statement was not popular with most, including those on Capitol Hill and in the Pentagon. The Pentagon press office was unaware that this decision was coming and referred questions about it to the White House.
“The tweet was the first we heard about it,” a defense official told the Wall Street Journal.
And while most in Congress deftly sidestepped the issue, a few spoke out:
“The President’s tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter. The statement was unclear. The Department of Defense has already decided to allow currently-serving transgender individuals to stay in the military, and many are serving honorably today. Any American who meets current medical and readiness standards should be allowed to continue serving. There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military—regardless of their gender identity.” – Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“You ought to treat everybody fairly and give everybody a chance to serve.” – Senator Richard C. Shelby Republican from Alabama
“I don’t think we should be discriminating against anyone.” – Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican from Utah
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was obviously at a loss, having only one stock answer for the multitude of questions about specifics and implementation posed by reporters:
“,,, something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together on as implementation takes place. This is a military decision, It’s not meant to be anything more than that.”
And when the questions continued, she threatened to end the press briefing, saying “If those are the only questions we have, I’m going to call it a day, but if we have questions on other topics, I’ll be happy to take them.”
Meanwhile, civil rights groups such as Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are prepared to take legal action when and if the transgender ban becomes policy. Josh Block, an attorney for the ACLU’s LGBT Project, believes it would violate the Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Administrative Procedure Act. The APA protects individuals from “arbitrary or capricious” actions.
Once again, as was the case with his original travel ban, Trump has leapt without looking and his foolhardy actions have simply added another level to the chaos that defines the Trump administration. Stay tuned, for I am certain to be back later with still more of this ulcer-inducing drama …
911 operator: What is the nature of your emergency?
Me: I need to report a theft.
911 operator: What, exactly, was stolen, ma’am?
Me: My sanity. The thief goes by the name of Donald Trump and I can give you his address. I want him arrested immediately.
Me: Hello? Hello …