Some Thoughts on Trump and the Transgender Military Ban

This will be a bullet point list, because I’m busy doing stuff I actually enjoy.

Anyway . . . !

1.) I don’t hate the idea of President Trump as much as most people. I still get annoyed when media outlets decide to trash him for innocuous bullshit and/or straight-up lie about what he thinks or does just because they’re all aboard the 24/7 Hate Train for the dude. Actually being fake news is not the best way to fight against the whole “fake news” thing, is all I’m saying. Looking at you, “memes incite violence against the press” CNN.

2.) Generally, I think most of the things he’s done probably looked fine of paper but were put into practice with the skill and subtle practice of a schizophrenic chimpanzee in the process of being immolated with a ‘Nam-style blowtorch. Temporary travel ban on countries connected to terrorist threats? Sure, not the worst idea. That list of countries making little sense in an American security context and being enacted by borderline-detaining people who legally arrived at the airport because they can’t be allowed to leave now? That’s pretty shitty. And that was something that could be partially blamed on ideas drafted up by the Obama administration. That’s not even including things that are totally the Trump admin’s doing like . . . touting isolationist policies that focus on domestic interests and then almost immediately sanctioning another bout of drone bombing, taking more funding away from our comparatively minuscule education and domestic enrichment programs to increase our already over-bloated and misused military budget, enforcing stricter immigration policies by encouraging broken window policing strategies, and getting rid of the current flawed health care system and replacing it with something that didn’t fix any of the bad parts and added more issues on top of them.

3.) And he’s done it again. Trump was the first real Republican candidate who showed open and explicit support of the LGBT community during his campaign run, which I gave him credit for, unlike many liberals who insisted he was homophobic . . . for reasons? I’m not sure, actually. He’s pretty much rolled back on that, though, with the statement he’s just issued:

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, the US government with not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the US Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgenders in the military would entail. Thank you.”

There are very, very many parts of this that genuinely confuse the ever loving fuck out of me. I’m not sure if I’m at the morally outraged levels that lots of people are, but I’m definitely bewildered.

Let’s talk about why.

4.) Why is this something he’s chosen to spend time on? Trump definitely knows what a giant can o’ worms the trans issue is. No one was asking for this. No one was complaining on the internet, prompting an official statement on the issue of trans people in the military to be made. He just came out with this one day. Why? With his controversy-laden presidency, keeping chicks with dicks out of the armed forces was really something he decided to make a priority?

5.) This is essentially just an even more regressive version of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. At least that mandate let them serve as long as they kept quiet about it. This one just flat out bans people entirely. I guess it’s good to know that I can go back to arguing against pseudo-evangelical pandering to right-wing demographics regarding LGBT issues again. I thought we were over that in *insert current year,* but okay.

6.) As has been readily pointed out, it’s rather hypocritical to act like the surely infinitesimal percentage of trans people in the military are going to cause some huge undue burden of medical costs for the military when one of the largest medical cost the military currently has is its Viagra budget. Yeah, that’s not an undue health cost at all.

7.) That being said, it’s not the American military’s job to pay for transition surgeries, hormones, or other medications. I wasn’t aware of the huge epidemic of transgender people joining the military for free sex-reassignment surgery, but if you want to cover all your bases and make sure medical exploitation doesn’t happen, fine. If the argument was “Trans people still currently transitioning and in need of consistent medical visits/evaluations/treatments will not be allowed into the military because that leads to superfluous health costs that we are not obligated to cover,” I’d actually understand.

That is not what is being said, though. It just bans trans people as a group, outright. What if they’re not physically transitioning and don’t plan to until after they get done serving? What if they’ve already physically transitioned before applying? What tremendous undue health cost are those trans people causing?

8.) You could say that trans people are more prone to things like anxiety and depression than cisgender people, therefore that is an undue medical risk the government would be taking on. But that law of averages isn’t applied to any other demographics. You don’t see Native Americans being denied entry into the military because they’re more prone to substance addictions, or white males being denied because they make up the largest percentage of sociopaths. The military has psychiatric and physical evaluations that must be passed before you can even hope to go to Boot Camp, let alone actually be deployed anywhere. If someone gets past those initial evaluations, I see no reason why there should be an issue. A trans person who suffers from depression and anxiety should not be allowed in the military, but acting like all trans people are going to come with that baggage by default and therefore should be overlooked as even potential applicants seems rather disingenuous.

9.) You could say that people with mental health issues should not be allowed in the military, which would conceivably exclude trans people. This is a slippery argument to make, though. Transgenderism is a sub-type of body dysmorphia, which is indeed a type of thought disorder, but I’m not sure how solid that argument is once you get past the surface level. Men in the military (as with the rest of very physical scenes like law enforcement or sports) are very prone to developing eating disorders and, yes, signs of body dysmorphia regarding their physiques. This is common amongst men in the military, who passed the psyche evaluation and are serving or about to serve. So . . . what? Samuel wanting to be called Samantha is enough of a disorder to disqualify her from military service entirely, but Calvin unhealthily obsessing over his body mass isn’t enough to disqualify him from military service?

10.) I’ve known people with schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, clinical depression, former drug addictions, and anxiety disorder who have all nevertheless been allowed to serve in the armed forces. Whatever you think about that topic, no one’s kicked up a fuss about it. No one’s making a political issue out of it. No one’s been overly bothered by the fact that my schizophrenic friend was allowed into the Army. Can we just talk about how little fucks the US Military usually gives about the mental health of its soldiers in general? How little support there is for people who have mental issues or develop them later on? Can we talk about how current military training is essentially designed to get people to circumvent human empathy and natural emotional reactions, and then discharged officers are given almost nothing to help them readjust to normal society afterward? Can we talk about how being discharged for having PTSD is seen as a black mark on someone’s military record? But nope! We don’t care about mental health and the military until someone with enough patriotism to want to go out and fight for their country turns out to be a tranny. Then mental health is a huge issue.

11.) And you’re not letting them into any military post? I have a friend who works for the armed forces and their job consist entirely of sitting behind a computer screen doing math all day. Can a transgender person not even do that job? They’d still just be far too disruptive for their own good?

12.) Then there’s the point about “disruption.” The same thing was said about letting gay people serve openly in the military, because the presence of fags would just be too distracting for our boys overseas. The same thing was said about letting women into the armed forces; they have periods you know, which means they’re just too emotional and effeminate to be trusted with any security measures. Hell, the same thing was said about post-WWII generals supporting the idea of racially integrated squadrons. I’d like to know what they think “disruptive” means in this context. I seriously doubt it’s the other normal troops getting the short end of the stick in “disruptive” situations that may arise. The point I’m trying to beat into your head is that someone’s presence being “too disruptive” has always been the go-to cop-out argument for this kind of thing.

13.) But you have to acknowledge the idea a bit more. Because it would be disruptive. A point that many people in support of this legislation have brought up is that the troops have to take the dreaded sensitivity class, and those classes are just way too expensive, and that’s the tremendous cost Trump is referring to. I have lots of problems with sensitivity training–namely that it doesn’t work at all, and usually makes the work environment more uncomfortable, not less–but that’s not an argument against letting transgender people into the military. That’s an argument against the current flawed methods we use to ease their transition into that environment. Pun totally intended. If you want to make an argument against the type of “diversity training” that is currently indulged in in that sphere, I will be right with you on that. But the answer to that problem isn’t “We wouldn’t need stupid, ineffective diversity training if there wasn’t any diversity . . .” *taps forehead and smiles*

14.) There are people saying that this is stupid because the military shouldn’t be involved in gender politics, and I actually disagree on that point. It’s not that I think the military should be involved in gender politics, but it is. It just is. The military is, in most respects, a very hyper-masculine social sphere. When divergent groups go into that sphere–like women, like gay men, like transgender people–it’s going to cause friction because the stereotypical idea of those groups (not necessarily the actual individuals involved, but just the particular demographic identity they belong to) doesn’t mesh well with the stereotypical hyper-masculine space they are in. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are legitimate issues, made worse by them happening in a place where reporting them or getting perpetrators in trouble for it actually is discouraged (because getting someone dishonorably discharged makes you the bad guy).

So this is not me saying that it’ll totally be smooth sailing and that transgender people being in the military will cause no issues whatsoever and that anyone who thinks it’ll cause issues is just being a bigot. But people who point out the problems it may cause as justification for them being banned from serving are doing their reasoning in reverse. They’re using the abuse that trans people very well may face in the military as an excuse for why trans people should just stay away, using the euphemism “disruptive,” instead of actually addressing the issue of mistreatment.

15.) And all that’s operating under the pretense that we don’t already have transgender people in the military, which we do. From the ones who have spoken out about their experience, they seem to have varying experiences with it ranging from totally positive to really negative, as is the case for anyone else who joins the military, I assume. Are those people going to be discharged now? How’s that going to work?

16.) What happened to supporting the troops and shit? The people I see who are waving the American flag talking about how much they respect the people going overseas to fight for ‘Murka seem to have a huge overlap with people who are glad to see this legislation get passed. So what, you respect the troops and have the highest opinion of anyone who goes out and protects American values . . . unless they’re trannies? Way to be consistent.


In summary:

Transgender people are not inherently unstable lunatics (at least no more than anyone else with some issues who still wants to join up) and should be be allowed to serve in the military as long as they meet the same mental and physical specifications set for everyone else. The military is not and should not be obligated to fund the medical bills associated with transitioning, and I’d suggest that anyone still in that process put off applying for the military for later. The fact that their presence would take some getting used to is not an excuse for why they shouldn’t be allowed in, and there are trans people serving in the military already, so I imagine some people are already well used to it.