Op-Ed: Take a Stand Against Transgender Military Ban

Illustration by Michelle Levinger ’19.

With a 5-4 vote, last Tuesday the Supreme Court ruled in favor of enforcing President Trump’s transgender military ban. This decision has been a long time coming; it is the culmination of Trump’s dehumanizing view of transgender people and the non-binary community.

Going forward, this ruling means that people who don’t identify with their gender assigned at birth will not be able to serve in the United States Armed Forces. For those already in the military, they are able to continue their service under some confusing conditions, including a medical diagnosis of the condition and a designation of stable for 3 years after hormone therapy and surgery has been completed.

Individuals that don’t meet these requirements will need to serve with their birth-assigned sex.

The discrimination faced by the trans community on a daily basis outside of organized oppression such as the military ban is outrageous enough. A community trying hard to be authentic while facing institutionalized marginalization does not  need more hate.

This ban carries dangerous implications, essentially proclaiming that gender identity can make people unfit to serve. There is an estimated 8,000 active military members who identify as transgender and have been suddenly told that their ‘condition’ inhibits them from successfully doing their job.

In the past, policies such as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” instituted by the Clinton administration, have regulated the presence of LGBTQ+ people in the military. In fact, many of the activists who have refuted the recent transgender ban were also involved in the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011.

It’s possible that Trump is using this ban to rile up his base and gain more media attention. Given his behavior over the past two years, this theory isn’t necessarily far-fetched.

Going beyond the military, the Trump administration has also advocated against transgender rights in school systems, health care, housing, and employment. This ban sends a clear message that the Trump administration not only considers transgender people unfit to serve—they also don’t consider them an important part of what defines America.

This is blatantly wrong. The transgender community already faces rampant discrimination. Now it has to cope with institutionalized marginalization in the form of a military ban.

This is blatantly wrong. The discrimination faced by the trans community on a daily basis outside of organized oppression such as the military ban is outrageous enough. A community trying hard to be authentic while facing institutionalized marginalization does not  need more hate.

Democrats are confident that as soon as power shifts towards the left once again, this ban will be eliminated, and restrictions lifted. But until then, what does it mean for our country that one’s ability to stand for a nation is now determined by their non-conformity to a biological deficit that may not represent their outward presentation?

On a local, state, and federal level it is important to fight this. Call representatives and support those around you. We cannot let this go unnoticed.

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