Please leave military imperialism out of the transgender ban

¶ Let me tell you, I hate the military. The American government spends entirely too much on it, when they could be spending on public education or medical care, to fight unnecessary wars in other countries. The military has done terrible things to the Native Americans, dropped bombs on Aleppo, and helped America annex the Philippines in the name of so-called freedom, leaving countless Filipinos with the idea that anything American is better. “It’s not a healthy way of thinking,” my cousin told me when I was in the Philippines for the very first time.

Courtesy of the Peter G. Peterson foundation, as can be found here.

¶ If everything were black and white, by now I would have automatically lost respect for those who currently serve in the military, but I haven’t. Economically disadvantaged people often enlist in the military not so much to fulfill a patriotic obligation, but to go to college and to achieve financial stability. Those who are oppressed due to race, gender, sexual/gender orientation, etc. are more likely to be economically disadvantaged. In many cases, they’re only doing what they can to survive. This applies especially to several transgenders, particularly those of color. It sounds like a bit of a paradox. While the military is a tool of imperialism that targets people of color, it is also a tool of survival for the marginalized in society.

¶ So while it may seem good that Donald Trump is keeping more people out of the imperialistic force we call the military, tell me: why is he targeting one of the most vulnerable groups in the process? What will they rely on for resources? As black trans woman L’lerrét Jazelle Ailith writes in online feminist magazine Wear Your Voice, “this issue of trans involvement in the military is less about the actual military itself and more about denying us our right to occupy space, make decisions, navigate authentically, and live within our full dignity as human beings.”

This post first appeared on Notes From the Female Odyssey, the author’s side blog, which focuses on feminism and social justice.