By D’Anne Witkowski | Guest Editorial
Hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, took to the streets on March 24 to protest the despicable fact that the U.S. allows its children to be gunned down at school on the regular.
Emma Gonzalez, the Parkland senior dismissed by Republican Leslie Gibson as a “skinhead lesbian,” gave a powerful speech at the March for Our Lives in Washington D.C. which included a prolonged moment of silence. Paul McCartney marched in New York, telling a CNN reporter, “One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here. So, it’s important to me.” And countless more people marched all over the country and even the world to protest the prioritization of guns over human lives in America.
And Donald Trump heard them loud and clear. He did what any true leader would do during this time of national crisis. He responded to this clarion call with (drumroll, please) a ban on transgender troops!
What, did you think he was going to ban guns?
Yes, our coward in chief, a man who has never served in the military (though he called himself “a great and very brave solider” for dodging STDs in the ’90s. “It is my personal Vietnam,” he really said), has once again told trans troops to GTFO, again.
You might remember that Trump tried doing this already and was sued. So, while that first attempt is still being fought in court, the Trump administration decided that a good ol’ trans troop ban was needed to distract from the nation’s school children refusing to be used for target practice, and Anderson Cooper’s interview with porn actress Stormy Daniels about her sexy time with the so-called president.
It’s disgusting, really. No, not the idea that Daniels might have dick pics. I mean, yes, that’s sick, but not as sick as telling Americans in uniform that they aren’t fit to wear their uniforms.
The new ban is basically a blanket ban on trans troops. If you’ve ever been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, you’re out. If you’ve gone through any kind of gender transition, you’re out. The good news is, if you’re trans but you stay in the closet about it, you’re allowed to serve as your biological sex dictates.
According to James Mattis (who is at the time of this writing the Defense Secretary, but by the time this goes to press it could just as likely be Dr. Strangelove), trans troops “undermine readiness, disrupt unit cohesion and impose an unreasonable burden on the military.”
Which is some bullshit.
Trump has whined in the past about the “tremendous medical costs” associated with trans troops. I wonder if he’s considered the tremendous medical costs that will be associated with the troops he and John Bolton want to send into war with North Korea and Iran. Probably not. Trump, who doesn’t think very deeply about things because — let’s face it — he can’t, doesn’t see transgender people as, well, people. He sees them as an episode of some kind of surgical reality show on TLC where the focus is all on medical care and not so much humanity.
There’s this idea that if America lets transgender people into the military then all transgender people will flock to the military in order to get “free” gender affirmation surgery. Which is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.
First of all, anyone who has ever served in or read a book about the military (Trump has done neither) will tell you that service members don’t get anything for free. Service members offer to give the ultimate sacrifice: their lives. And while we talk the big talk of taking care of our troops, we don’t actually do a great job of it. If you’d like a shining example, do a Google search for “homeless veterans.”
So, if someone is willing to serve in the military, especially under this completely unqualified and dangerous commander in chief, the least we can give them is the health care they need.
Call your elected representatives and tell them that you stand with trans troops. And then call the White House and ask Trump how his bone spurs are doing.
— 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.