Human Rights - Politics

Outrage In America After Trump Bans Most Transgender Service Members

Published on March 24, 2018 by Athena Pallas

President Trump’s narrow minded view of people has again targeted transgender service members and transgender people who would like to be recruits in the armed forces. Apparently undeterred by multiple legal challenges to his efforts to bar transgender people from the military, Trump has just issued a series of guidelines that would ban most transgender people from the military.

The banning guidelines are aimed at anyone who has ever had a “history or diagnosis” of gender dysphoria. Of course it stands to reason that transgender people experienced unhappiness with the gender they were assigned at birth, seeing it as discordant with their sense of self, and so would experience gender dysphoria until they were able to live as the gender that fits their sense of self, so the guidelines seem to painted with a very broad brush. Reading between the lines, it also appears that the guidelines are intended to avoid healthcare spending for gender reassignment surgery, hormone treatments, or other medical needs of transitioning transgender people. According to ABC News:

In a presidential memorandum on Friday, President Donald Trump banned some transgender service members from serving in the U.S. military…”Among other things, the policies set forth by the Secretary of Defense state that transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria – individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery – are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances,” Trump wrote in a statement released by the White House…Trump tweeted last July that he wanted to ban all transgender service members because the military “must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory.” Since those tweets, federal courts have rejected portions of the proposed ban…The policy announced by the White House on Friday will be subject to and restrained by existing court orders, unless the Department of Justice has judges dissolve preliminary injunctions.

Of course these guidelines and Trump’s overall viewpoint on transgender service members have civil rights advocates up in arms. According to the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), in partnership with the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) :

Shannon Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Legal Director said, “This is exactly the discriminatory, categorical ban that four federal courts have already barred from going forward.  This is just the sort of baseless attack on dedicated service members we have come to expect from this administration, and we will continue to fight this shameful ban vigorously in federal court.”…Jennifer Levi, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) Transgender Rights Project Director, said, “This Trump-Pence plan categorically bans transgender people from service, with no legitimate basis. It requires the discharge of trained, skilled troops who have served honorably for decades. It’s a gross mischaracterization of transgender people, and it’s bad for our military.”

Congressional democrats also condemn Trump’s transgender service member ban. House Minority Leader Nance Pelosi (D-CA) condemned Trump’s ban as “cowardly” and “disgusting”, according to The Hill, saying in a statement, “This latest memorandum is the same cowardly, disgusting ban the President announced last summer. No one with the strength and bravery to serve in the U.S. military should be turned away because of who they are. The President’s hateful ban is purpose-built to humiliate our brave transgender members of the military who serve with honor and dignity. It will harm our nation’s readiness and hollow out our strength, for we only strengthen our military by honoring our values of freedom and equality.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) expressed similar sentiments in response to Trump’s tweets on the subject last year, according to The Hill, saying such a ban is “just plain wrong & cuts directly across the drive for equality.”

This of course is not the only bias and bigotry that President Trump has shown. Trump said there were good people on both sides at white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, when most people clearly believe that the terms “white supremacist” and “good person” are mutually exclusive. Trump has since the earliest days of his administration been attempting to ban immigrants from majority Muslim countries, an effort which has thankfully been largely blocked by multiple court challenges. Trump has shown clear racism toward Mexican people and his plan to build a border wall costing tens of billions of dollars is not winning him fans on either side of the border. And then there is this continual effort on Trump’s part to ban transgender recruits from serving in the military, an idea Trump keeps hanging on to despite multiple court challenges. Donald Trump’s offensive words and policies show him to be sharply opposed to civil rights and equality. At least court challenges have managed to keep his discriminatory policies at bay for the time being.

Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.