As I write this, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is on fire. It’s a terrible loss to anyone who cares about history. Donald Trump’s response, however, was to Tweet French firefighters how to do their jobs. Trump probably sees the fire as a business opportunity. Maybe he dreams that the latest Trump Hotel will spring up in its place.
Just in case it isn’t clear, Trump is a terrible person.
Want more proof? Trump’s totally needless transgender troop ban went into effect on April 12. The ban will effectively save America from … ITAL checks notes … people who voluntarily serve in it and are willing to risk their lives for this country.
Oh, and in addition to kicking out trans troops, the Trump administration is also hell-bent on kicking out immigrant troops. But don’t worry, the military is addressing the problem by relaxing recruit standards making it a great place for white supremacists who are unhappy with their current access to weaponry in their civilian lives.
Whew. I know I’ll sure be sleeping more soundly.
As you’ll remember, this whole thing started with a Trump tweet in 2017, because that’s how we make sweeping policy decisions that directly impact people’s lives, FFS. Many entities immediately came out against such a ban and two years of wrangling in court followed. But the Supreme Court let the plan go into effect in a 5-4 decision further highlighting the fact that ELECTIONS MATTER, especially when a heartless madman gets elected.
The Human Rights Campaign, not surprisingly, denounced the ban.
“At this difficult moment for transgender service members and those wishing to serve their country, every transgender patriot should know that a grateful nation supports you,” said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride. “The Trump-Pence transgender troop ban is dangerous for both transgender people and our national security, which is why a bipartisan chorus of members of Congress, leading military experts and overwhelming majorities of Americans oppose this despicable policy.”
The majority of Americans also oppose Trump, but here we are.
McBride is also the author of Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss and the Fight for Trans Equality, a book I really cannot recommend more highly.
Now, some conservatives will argue that this isn’t a transgender troop ban. But as The Daily Beast’s Samantha Allen points out, they’ve “made gender dysphoria [a] disqualifying condition.” This allows the Trump administration to “ban transgender troops without admitting that they are banning transgender troops; rather, they can argue that they are simply pushing out people with gender dysphoria.”
“That’s disingenuous because the Venn diagram of transgender people and people who experience gender dysphoria, while not a perfect circle, is pretty damn close to one,” Allen writes.
Allen argues that this ban is basically “don’t ask, don’t tell” for transgender service members. Just as DADT was harmful and wrong when it applied to all LGBTQ members, it is still harmful and wrong now.
One of the biggest complaints Trump and other anti-trans bigots have about transgender people serving in the military is the cost of their medical care. And it’s true, the cost of, say, a gender affirmation surgery can be pretty expensive.
And so there’s this right-wing conservative idea that transgender folks are flocking to the military in order to have cost-free surgeries.
Not true. But even if it were, SO WHAT? If you’ve got someone who is qualified and capable of volunteering to serve their country, even going so far as risking their lives, then we should be thanking them, not kicking them out because we fear their health care costs.
But, of course, this isn’t really about money. It’s about bigotry. Letting a transgender person wear a military uniform of the United States is tantamount to saying, “This country does not discriminate and care more about someone’s qualifications than their gender identity.”
But under Trump, we aren’t that country. Sure, the majority of Americans might disagree with the ban, but they aren’t the people running the country. We’ve got a radical minority at the helm hell-bent on hurting the people they don’t like.
If you feel like each day under Trump gets worse and worse, rest assured. You are 100 percent correct.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.