That Transgender-Military Kerfuffle

It’s already been a whole week (or alternately, it’s only been a week?) since Trump posted his tweet policy update banning trans individuals from serving in the US military in any way.

Since then the fervor has died down a bit because Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford wrote a letter stating:

I know there are questions about yesterday’s announcement on the transgender policy by the President. There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.

In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect. As importantly, given the current fight and the challenges we face, we will all remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions.

However, this doesn’t mean this is settled. Trump has been railing on Twitter through this past week, trying to keep the ACA repeal alive. We also know that he considers his tweets to be policy and not propaganda (as long as that distinction is convenient for him, anyway). What that means is that the issue is not dead. People who were upset by it should not relax.

Another disturbing aspect of this was the reaction, even from the side fighting the ban. I saw reactions that played it off because what sort of person would join the military since it’s used for corrupt political reasons anyway. I saw cis voices drown out people in the trans community. I saw people missing the point entirely, taking the position that this was just another radical move by the far right  to impose their will.

The truth is this move was just a symptom of the larger issue of how poorly trans people have been treated in society. This didn’t come out of nowhere, and trans people in the military isn’t even a secure thing, as there were reports as recently as last month that the defense officials were trying to form a case against allowing openly transgender people to serve in the armed forces.

I’ve been trying to form a solid idea on what needs to be said, but rather than taking over the discussion I’m going to urge everyone to seek trans voices on the matter. Trans rights are human rights, but trans people are the most suited to lead the fight for those rights. So when I see well-meaning people publicly speak out and say things like:

Today it might be trans people, but tomorrow it’s gay people, and then the next day it’s black people, and after that it’s women, and then it’s immigrants.

like the women writers on Late Night with Seth Meyers, I have to wonder why it has to be framed as the first step in a larger plan to take away civil rights. Why isn’t it enough to take away equality from trans people? Why do we have to worry that they may come for parts of the cis population next? So I’m turning the rest of this post over to trans people, to feature what they have to say. And I urge all you cis folk out there to seek out trans podcasts, writers, Twitter users, and Facebook pages to keep their voices in your feed. Because it’s not like they’re featured in the mainstream media on other side. Keep their voices in your ear.

About Adam

Adam is a Jewish American who's sick of the white Christian male being America's "default" setting. For money he works in a public library because free books and information access are wonderful things. For love he writes here for his pet project, The Chaotic Neutral, which is always looking for more writers. You can follow him on Instagram, Goodreads, and at his oft neglected Twitter where he will try to post more, and probably live-tweet the Eurovision Song Contest.

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