Trump’s transgender military ban is hateful and baseless

Griffin Perrault, Staff Writer

It has often been said, usually in a disparaging manner, that the policies, actions, and general message of the Trump Administration lack any form or consistency. Critics argue that President Donald Trump has absolutely no identifiable agency in any action he takes, confounding policy strategists, American citizens, and his own cabinet alike. However, all of these groups seem to overlook a simple, prevailing enthusiasm which Trump has held since the announcement of his candidacy four years ago: taking action purely for its derisive effect on the powerless.


Nowhere does this strategy manifest more than in the transgender military ban, which the Supreme Court allowed into effect on Jan. 22 while appellate and district courts continue to hear oral arguments. The policy bars from military service transgender persons who have been diagnosed with a condition known as “gender dysphoria,” an affliction experienced as a result of an incongruence between the person’s birth sex and their gender identity and requires sex reassignment surgery (SRS) or hormone treatments. The order further bans sex-reassigned transgender people from serving if completion of hormone treatment and SRS were less than three years prior to serving in the military. Trump’s 2017 tweet proposing the order noted that “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender [sic] in the military would entail,” (for context, said “medical costs and disruption” for the approximately 6,000 active duty transgender people at the time of the tweet totaled around $8.4 million, or 0.017 percent of the Department of Defense’s budget).


It is this kind of flimsy logic that has guided Trump’s hand on a series of groundless, uncommonly cruel acts of abasement towards the transgender community. Moves last year by the Health and Human Services Department attempted to legally codify sex under Title IX as immutable and determined at birth. In 2017, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention was discouraged from using the term “transgender” (along with “vulnerable,” “science-based,” and others) in official documents. And in late 2018, the Justice Department submitted a legal brief to the Supreme Court arguing that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not protect transgender employees from workplace discrimination. Although this campaign against transgender people has fallen under such myriad flags as “religious liberty,” “states’ rights,” and, as Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said of this latest case, “ensur[ing] a lethal and combat effective fighting force,” there is little consistent reasoning behind any of these actions. Even Trump himself has fluctuated on transgender issues in the past, most notably North Carolina’s law barring transgender people from using the bathroom that doesn’t correspond to their birth sex—Trump noted late into his 2016 campaign that transgender people should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.” Since then, what could once be considered a saving grace of the Trump platform has germinated into another pointless subjugation. Evidently, the Trump Administration is committed to one ideal and one ideal alone: a callous, unwavering offensive on the powerless of our country.

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