Yesterday, Trump introduced a trans ban on people in the military. As usual, everyone and their mom has become a military strategy expert, as well as an expert on Mattis and Trump’s relationship. I have my qualms and I have my suspicions about this policy, but I’m taking the unique position of actually waiting for more information before jumping to emotional, uninformed conclusions. Crazy, I know.
For what it’s worth, I have hesitations about both sides of the trans ban. Being that the military currently foots the bill for many transitional surgeries while military members that wish to undergo more traditional procedures aren’t funded by their employer, I understand the financial strain being placed on the military. We also have to be honest about human nature. I am by no means trying to discredit the service of anyone that is currently or was formerly enlisted, but there are facts of human nature that can’t be ignored in this context. People have joined the military for the perceived benefits over patriotism for decades now. If I wanted to undergo multiple expensive procedures and treatments and knew I could do so on the military’s dime, I’d definitely consider enlisting for that reason alone. That probably doesn’t apply to most or even half of the trans people in the military, but we’d be willfully delusional to ignore that appeal.
I’m no expert on the military and I’m no expert on the ins and outs of transition from one gender to another. But it’s my guess that taking hormones that alter the way you look and feel is an emotionally exhausting feat that renders one incapable of being mentally there 100%. It’s my guess that someone in the middle of transition would be a weak link in any troop, and put everyone in it at risk.
With the rates of rape and sexual assault within the military, there is an entirely new element added when people transitioning from one gender to another are added into the mix. If a biological man is transitioning into a woman, where does she go? Where does she sleep? Is she safe, and are the people around her safe? Do entirely new facilities need to be built to accommodate her? How much will that cost? And how will their colleagues, already stressed out and on edge being away from their loved ones for so long and surrounded by people that want to kill them react to this perceived special treatment? Again, human nature cannot be ignored.
What throws me off about Trump’s announcement is that it doesn’t just say “the military will no longer pay for transition” or “you must now fully transition before enlisting or wait until you’re done serving.” It completely bans individuals based on an aspect of their identity that is out of control. The military also does that to plenty of people with asthma and poor eyesight. But if a trans person doesn’t want the military to pay for their transition, and meets all the physical/mental requirements, why should they be prohibited from serving their country? Why should they be denied that privilege?
A part of me thinks the issue has to do with the PC seminars and workshops that military men and women are being forced to partake in, fueling resentment within the ranks. Just yesterday a girl was talking about her boyfriend’s frustrations of attending a trans sensitivity workshop when he was getting ready to deploy. And honestly, it’s a valid complaint. But does it constitute a trans ban?
I don’t agree with the way Trump introduced this policy change, and quite frankly, it makes me suspicious. Contrary to popular opinion, Trump is a brilliant man. Like, he’s actually a genius. And he knows that a simple series of tweets like this will dominate news cycles until he tweets something else equally or more controversial. Why would he announce something as controversial as a military trans ban on Twitter, offering no detailed rationale? Not to go full blown Alex Jones, but this all seems like a distraction. And I can’t help but wonder what’s actually happening on Pennsylvania Avenue that they don’t want us to know about.