Trump’s military trans ban isn’t just injustice, it’s a distraction
by Brian Moniz
It’s been a month since Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender Americans from serving in the military, and as expected, the numbers and statistics from that ban show his move, like everything he does, is thoughtless, pointless, and does far more damage than he thinks it helps. The ban itself, which was gutted years ago after Obama took office, is suddenly being brought back up at such an arbitrary and abrupt time. No general or military leader admits to having any conversation with Trump about this, and the ban came as just a big of a shock to them as it did to the rest of the country. At no point in the past seven months, or even during the election, did Donald Trump say he had any plans to kick transgender members of the military out and prevent future trans men and women from enlisting. What he did say, however, was, “As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LBGTQ citizens…and I have to say, as a Republican…it is so nice hearing you [Republican voters] cheering for what I just said!” I guess kicking them out of the military is one way to protect them from being hurt or killed.
The statistics are in, and the results are not good for Trump. Aside from not having the support of any major military leader or commander, Trump’s logic on the ban seems heavily flawed, in fact, it’s backwards. He claimed the reasoning for the ban was to cut back on “all the money we waste” on transgender men and women’s gender reassignment surgeries, medications, and care-taking because it’s a “tremendous burden.” It’s a money-saving move, he says. After studying the numbers, results show that it costs the United States taxpayers (as part of the military budget) between $2.4 million and $8.4 million a year to take care of our transgender men and women in the military, including surgeries and procedures. As a point of comparison: It costs over $960 million to take care of everyone else who isn’t transgender. Recent reports show that our military spends $84 million dollars a year on erectile dysfunction medications, and over $41 million of that is just Viagra, alone. In other words, Trump is saying it’s more of a “burden” to spend $8.4 on thousands of Americans who proudly want to serve their country than to take away boner pills from men who can’t get it up. Makes perfect sense.
Another major flaw that Trump didn’t foresee is the grossly unbalanced cost difference between how much we spend on a transgender solider versus how much it will cost to kick them out of the military. It would cost taxpayers $656 per transgender person to keep them in the military, and cost roughly $75,000 to eject them, replace them, and train their replacement. Again, Trump’s move here is as expensive as it is illogical, aside from being immoral.
One thing that most Americans do not realize and understand is that for many transgender men and women in America, the military is the only way they can survive in America. Across the country, trans men and women are grossly mistreated, discriminated against, and refused employment at many places of business. If we kick out our transgender servicemen and women, we can and will be throwing thousands, if not tens-of-thousands of our own brave men and women onto the street, ending up unemployed and homeless. The military is the only place many of our brave trans brothers and sisters can find a place in the world and work. It provides a home, a job, and lets them contribute to society and serve the country in a way they would not be able to otherwise. Apparently, Trump does not see that, and he honestly probably doesn’t care. Which leads me to the real reason for this ban — to distract.
This transgender military ban is 100% a giant distraction from his son, Don Jr., being under fire for having his emails leaked in regard to colluding with the Russians during the campaign.
This is what the Trump team does: they deny any wrongdoings, then get caught and lie about it, then after those lies are disproven, they try to normalize what they did. Their whole defense was, “We never colluded with any Russians,” to “We knew this one Russian,” to “Okay, we know a few Russians,” to “This meeting was about adoption” then “there were only two people there,” to “okay there were four,” to “okay, eight” to “it wasn’t about collusion,” to “okay, it was about collusion but it’s not a crime,” to “anyone else would have taken that meeting,” to “it’s just politics, people!” Any time Trump or his family members get into hot water over scandals, he will tweet some outrageous claim to distract everyone. He tweeted three million illegals voted after Hillary was announced the winner of the popular vote. When he had to go to court over his fake university that defrauded thousands of people and was forced to pay a 25 million-dollar settlement, he tweeted that Obama wire tapped him. Now his son is under fire for colluding with the Russians and so he announces a politically-loaded ban on trans people.
The most frustrating thing about all of this is how Trump voters still support and believe him. Lies aren’t a deal-breaker anymore. Red-handed, caught-on-tape, black-and-white proven lies do not sway them away from their orange god. They’re still with him. These are the same people who wave American flags and hold up copies of the constitution at Republican rallies. This man and his family were caught, 100% guilty, of colluding with the Russian government to rig our election and destroy our democracy, and they don’t care. It doesn’t scare Trump supporters that an enemy foreign power rigged our election. As long as their side wins, they don’t care how. If the tables were turned and Russia, or any country, helped Hillary win, she’d already be impeached.
This distraction is just one of the hundreds of ridiculous moves our President makes to keep his own corruptions out of the spotlight. While he robs this country of our rights and freedoms, he points at one minority group and tells his supporters “Look over there…over there…just keep looking!” long enough for his latest scandal to fade away. What makes this even more dangerous is it shows Trump’s willingness to throw his own American citizens under the bus at any time for his own benefit. Trump targeted our most vulnerable minority group just to get his own son out of a jam. Who is next? If he is willing to throw some Americans aside to protect himself, what’s stopping him from throwing all of us under the bus when an even bigger scandal comes along?
This is another historical example of how we must all stand together, as one country and one people, or else we will be divided and conquered; and how Americans must stand up against this type of bullying and injustice and not fall for these distractions. You don’t have to be gay to be against homophobia, or trans to be against this ban, but if you love this country, you will stand up for all Americans when a terrible and unnecessary injustice takes place and not stand idly-by while our President continues to run down our country and its people.
Brian Moniz is a 28-year-old man from San Jose, Calif. He studied filmmaking and writing at San Jose State University from 2010–2013 and got his bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film. Throughout his high school and college years, he worked as a music and movie journalist and critic. Having only recently come out of the closet himself in 2014, Brian enjoys writing about LGBTQ issues. His only regret when it comes to his sexuality is that he didn’t come out sooner. Read more by Brian here.