This article was published on July 26th, 2017
The gay community woke up with a collective gasp of frustration and anguish as the President Donald Trump tweeted to the world that transgender people are hereby-forward band serving in the United States military. This reneges, yet again, another campaign promise where the President had sworn to protect and be an ally for LGBT people. Trumps trans ban sent the Internet and streets across the nation a flutter and was all anybody could talk about. Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military personal serving openly is the last nail in the coffin solidifying he is not a friend of the queer community.
LGBT rights organizations were outraged and immediately vowed to take action. A statement early this morning from OutServe-SLDN said:
“In his latest example of pseudo-policy-by-twitter, Donald Trump has shown blatant disregard for transgender service members who have been serving openly since October 2016. The disruptive burden to the military comes from indecision in a White House which itself is not focused on victory if it’s targeting service members. The readiness, effectiveness, and lethality of the Armed Services comes from the commitment of our troops – not the vagaries and bigotry of exclusionary policies. We are committed to transgender service members. We are going to fight for them as hard as they are fighting for the country. And we’re going to start by taking the fight to Donald Trump in the Federal Court”
OutServe-SLDN estimates that there are more than 16,000 transgender individuals currently serving in our armed services. Many of them doing so openly after then-Secretary Carter lifted the ban on open transgender service last year.
So, why now? Why is Donald Trump hell-bent on banning our trans brothers and sisters from serving the United States?
“The President is creating a worse version of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center. “As we know from the sad history of that discredited policy, discrimination harms military readiness. This is a shocking and ignorant attack on our military and on transgender troops who have been serving honorably and effectively for the past year. As former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen stated yesterday, their service must be respected. The Rand Corporation has estimated that the cost of medical care for transgender troops is approximately one one-hundredth of one percent of the military annual health care budget, or at most, $8.4 million per year. To claim otherwise is to lie about the data.”
According to the U.S. trans survey, nearly 1 in 5 trans people in US are currently serving or have served in the military.
“The US military represents one of the few ways for low income and disenfranchised people, including trans people and people of color, to gain career skills and financial security both now and in the future,” said Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming Justice Project Director, National LGBTQ Task Force. “No one should be forced to choose between who they are and being able to keep their career,”
The frustration over President Trump’s tweets hit hard in many sub communities too.
“As a black transgender man who considered military service, Trump’s tweets appalled and astonished me, said Camden Hargrove, Advocacy & Action organizer. “There is no way for me to not draw parallels between racial segregation in the military and this discrimination against transgender service members. Trump’s attempts today to divide the military is especially ironic considering that today is the Anniversary of President Truman issuing his 1948 Executive Order ordering the racial desegregation of the military.”
What does Donald Trump’s transgender military ban mean for the rest of the queer community? It means exactly what leaders in the LGBT community have said ever since Trump began his run for office: Donald Trump is no friend to the LGBT community. If Trump attacks one of member of the LGBT community, then he is attacking everyone. Now is the time to really start fighting the President and this administration. What is to prevent the President from banning women, gays, blacks, or other minority groups from serving in the United States military? On the 69th anniversary of President Truman desegregating The United States military, and without any consultation from the Pentagon or the secretary of defense, Donald Trump just awoke a sleeping giant. Get ready Mr. President: this means war.