President Donald Trump set the American LGBT community ablaze Wednesday with a series of tweets that communicated his intent to bar transgender people from serving in the United States military.
After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow...... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming..... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
To many this wasn’t an enormous surprise, given the GOP’s consistent attack on the rights of transgender people over the last few years. To others, myself included, this was particularly surprising, given President Trump’s position on both LGBT rights, and specifically his position on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policies in the past.
Strange to remember that in 1999, Trump was at forefront arguing gay Americans should be allowed to serve. What he told The Advocate: pic.twitter.com/fNKbHkTSC3 — andrew kaczynski 🤔 (@KFILE) July 26, 2017
The biggest emotion instilled in me as a result of this drastic step backwards is an overwhelming sense of fear. When Mike Pence was announced as Donald Trump’s running mate, queer people became worried, with Pence’s support of conversion therapy and efforts to legalize anti-LGBT+ discrimination.
I’m afraid of what this means for me and for my trans siblings all across the spectrum. I’m afraid that this means Pence may be pulling more strings than we had initially thought. I’m even afraid that this is just Trump is trying to save his voter base by scapegoating transgender people. It’s really hard to tell what is going on because it’s confusing on multiple fronts.
To use myself as an example, I’m not legally female at this point, as the cost of changing one’s legal gender and/or name in North Carolina is somewhat steep. As a result I’m still registered through Selective Services to be drafted into the military if there ever comes a day when it is activated. I’m also a trans woman who has been taking hormones for an extended period of time. Outside of some genetic coding, I am closer to a cisgender female than a cisgender male at this point, in terms of physical capabilities.
What happens if I were to be summoned to the military? I don’t have an answer and I imagine there isn’t a concrete one at this point, as the President just announced all of this through his Twitter, and it hasn’t been signed into law. It’s entirely possible that it being through social media makes Trump’s words hollow ― nothing more than a pass at those who want to see trans people pushed out of the public eye.
Regardless of how confusing or frightening this may be, I see it as a sign that we can’t become complacent. We have to continue protesting for what we believe in, and what we know is right. House Bill 2 in North Carolina was recently updated to remove the discriminatory measures of the bill, after pressure from companies and voters alike. It won’t be easy, but we can win this fight.
Write letters to your senators, call your representatives, do what you can to make your voice heard. Don’t take this lying down. The most important thing that we can do from here is try to enact change in whatever ways we can. This may be the sign of a battle lost, but we’ll win the war.