We’ve become used to Trump’s early-morning, hate-filled tweets, but the latest is particularly inhumane. In a series of tweets sent at 8:55am this morning (Wednesday, July 26), Trump announced that he will not “accept or allow” transgender people to join the military. His tweets read:
“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.”
Within the hatred of his announcement, take a look at the language he uses. He calls trans people a "burden" and "disruption," causing "tremendous medical costs." He says having trans servicpeople is counterproductive to a "decisive and overwhelming victory." Notice also that he uses “transgender” as a noun — an offensive and incorrect decision.
The New York Times writes that this move will reverse the Obama administration’s progress; last year, President Obama announced that trans people could serve openly in the military. The Obama administration also opened all combat roles to women and appointed the first openly gay Army secretary, Eric Fanning. The Trump administration has delayed setting policies in place regarding transgender servicemembers until now.
Although the timing may seem sudden, the New York Times points out that there has been an ongoing debate in Congress about rolling back the Obama administration’s policies that the Pentagon should pay for hormone therapy and transition surgery for trans servicemembers; conservative Republicans want this policy gone.
It’s difficult to say how many trans people are currently serving in the military — The New York Times cites a study putting the number at about 2,450, while the National Center For Trans Equality says there are over 15,000 active duty trans service members.
On Twitter, many are noticing that on this date in 1948, the military was desegregated — one has to wonder about Trump’s timing.
Humans rights organizations, LGBTQ organizations, and trans rights advocates were quick to condemn Trump’s actions:
“Thousands of trans service-members on the front lines deserve better from their commander-in-chief, @realDonaldTrump. Contact the ACLU,” the ACLU tweeted.
“President Trump today issued a direct attack on transgender Americans, and his administration will stop at nothing to implement its anti-LGBTQ ideology within our government – even if it means denying some of our bravest Americans the right to serve and protect our nation,” Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. “Today further exposed President Trump’s overall goal to erase LGBTQ Americans from this nation. Trump has never been a friend to LGBTQ Americans, and this action couldn’t make that any more clear.”
The National Center For Trans Equality tweeted, “Using the lives, the careers, and the service of #transgender troops as a political wedge is disgusting. @realdonaldtrump won't look #transgender service members in the eye and justify this ugly ban. #Transgender people have been serving honorably for decades, and are serving openly for the last year without issue.”
“Trolling at its finest from a man who's never served & shown up the way trans servicefolk have & are,” tweeted Janet Mock. “There are many ways to serve our communities/countries. Trans folk have done vital work, putting bodies on the line unlike @realDonaldTrump.” She added, along with a link to a 2015 Washington Post article about trans servicemember Shane Ortega, “I salute trans folk like @OnlyShaneOrtega who've fought for a country whose president won't fight for them Vet @OnlyShaneOrtega w leaders like @allysonrobinson sacrificed/worked tirelessly to serve & create space for trans folk who want to serve. shameful that trans folk are being used as scapegoats in another non-issue (military, bathrooms, etc) to distract from your shortcomings."
Top photo via Flickr Creative Commons/The US Army
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