Response to Trump’s plan to exclude trans individuals from the military

Today, Donald Trump not too subtly hinted his belief in gender as a strict binary, stating that the US government will not “accept or allow” transgender individuals to serve in the military. Not shocking given his track record of intolerance and bigotry, but that doesn’t make the decision any less abhorrent.

Firstly, Mr. Trump, you ought to show some gratitude. The thousands of transgender men and women currently enlisted in the forces dedicate their careers and lives (misguidedly, in my opinion) to your nation’s protection and international aspirations. And you repay them by devaluing their service, devaluing their being, and casting a shadow of uncertainty over their futures. This is not to mention younger LGBT generations with military aspirations. Trump’s move sends the message that they are less capable, less desirable, and less respected than their heteronormative/cisgender counterparts. It’s hard to believe that the arc of the moral universe really is bent toward justice if the ‘leader of the free world’ can openly denigrate an entire community of his citizens in this way. It’s 2017, it’s not the 1960s anymore.

Secondly, please don’t use medical and financial excuses and expect us to believe them. I’m pretty sure there’s room in that $600 billion defence budget to fund hormone therapy, especially for those who, you know, make that small commitment of risking their lives for your benefit. Trump, you’re not worried about the “burden” and “disruption” of transgender medical costs, you see transgender people as a burden and disruption to your vision of a nation of people that look, act, and think like you. Little by little, by depriving rights to and discrediting your out-groups, you foster division and embolden discrimination, and you leave the U.S in an increasingly unpalatable and indefensible state.