Opinion: Military ban shows Trump administration’s transphobia


Public Domain

The Transgender Pride Flag created by American trans woman Monica Helms in 1999

On January 22nd the Supreme Court voted to pass Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military personnel. This passing comes after the induction of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which resulted in a 5-4 conservative judge majority. This ban also comes after three tweets made by the president in 2017 stating,

After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……….Transgender individuals to  serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming………victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

This military ban is more specific than just targeting transgender personnel. It goes in depth about cases of gender dysphoria, stating that, most transgender soldiers are banned except if they are “service members who have been stable for three years in their biological sex prior to joining the military.”  

This means 36 months after completion of surgery and hormone treatments, members diagnosed with gender dysphoria after joining the military can stay if they don’t require a change of gender and remain deployable.

The following cases are highly unlikely to occur because the majority of these cases force these people to remain in their birth sex. For example, members who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria before the effective date of the policy can still serve and receive medical treatment. As well as transgender persons without a gender dysphoria diagnosis or history can serve in their birth sex.”

The military ban is the most recent case of blatant transphobia within the Trump administration.

In early 2017, Trump repealed the federal decision from the Obama administration which made it legal for any transgender student to use the bathroom that correlates with their gender identity.

In a joint letter from top officials in the Department of Education, as well as the Department of Justice, claimed that the administration’s decision was “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

Reversing this decision shows the disregard for the individuals who were protected under the federal decision, and allows schools the freedom to implement transphobic policies. Even schools who allow unisex bathrooms for transgender students as an “accommodation” for them, are excluding them from using the bathroom they feel fit to use, like any other cisgender student.

In October of 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke out about Title VII, which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Sessions believed that Title VII’s “prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status,”

This is not correct with the current definition of gender, which includes more than just male and female. Sessions’ claim is false and promotes transphobic discrimination in the workplace. If what Sessions said were true, a business would be free to post signs like “Transgender individuals need not apply.” This would be eerily reminiscent of the signs posted in businesses before the civil rights movements.

The discrimination continued in October of 2018 when the administration considered narrowly defining sex as something that is solely biological and cannot be changed. The memo released by the administration said that “The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

This would erase federal identification of transgender people, and shift the definition of gender that was expanded under the Obama administration. This denial of federal recognition allows schools and other establishments under Title IX to discriminate against transgender people.  

With all the different occasions of proposed or enacted legislation that disadvantages transgender people, it is clear that these are targeted attacks. These innocent people have done nothing wrong, and have gotten copious amounts of hate from people across the country. The United States is straying farther from the equality that the LGBT+ Americans deserve, and the Trump administration is creating an unsafe place for transgender people in the United States.