Schaumburg: Transgender Military Ban “Missing the Point”


contributed photo

Sage Schaumburg stands with Transgender Pride flag.

Sage Schaumburg, Entertainment Editor

Under Former President Barack Obama, it was decided (June 30, 2016) that an individual could not be discharged just for being transgender. Trump is trying to reverse this ruling with a transgender military ban; thankfully, as of August 30, this ban has been put on hold by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Trump writes: “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.”

The 45th President of the United States Donald J. Trump decided to make a controversial decision over the summer, tweeting the above statement on the morning of July 26, 2017. The tweet upset and angered many individuals: LGBTQ+, allies, and those in the military alike.

The first problem with his tweet is the portrayal of any individual who wants to fight for our country as a burden. For a nation adamant about building up a large military defense, it seems rather ridiculous to remove a portion of that defense just because they don’t identify as their biological sex.

Transgender people are not burdens. By deeming them as so and taking away the rights that were given a year ago, Trump is treating them as though they don’t matter as much as others. I have many friends and classmates that are transgender, and I can assure you that they do matter. Being transgender does not prevent them from doing well in school or having friends and a social life, so why would their gender identity “burden” the military?

$41.6 million [of the military budget] is spent on Viagra alone.”

Trump mentions the “tremendous medical costs” that come with transgender individuals in the military, but did you know that it only costs between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually for the military to pay for any gender-transition-related medical treatment? This may seem like a lot for those of us still in high school, but this is $8.4 million out of $6.2 BILLION. Only 0.13% of the current budget is dedicated to transgender individuals, which is absurd compared to the $84 million that is spent a year on erectile dysfunction medicines ($41.6 million is spent on Viagra alone). Try to tell me again that the medical costs for transgender people are tremendous, when those costs are about one-fifth the cost of the Viagra budget.

As for the “disruption” that would occur when allowing a transgender person to be in the military, this argument has been used time and time again to keep everyone but the straight white male out of the military. For example, when women wanted to join the military, those who opposed tried to argue that men wouldn’t be able to focus, their attraction would cause a distraction.

“26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” Our current president tweeted this on May 6, 2013.

People who think like this are clearly missing the point. The problem isn’t introducing new people into the military; the problem is the individual who sees himself as superior to the newcomer. It was the African-American individual who was to blame in the 1940s instead of the white man who had a problem training and fighting with him, the assaulted woman was blamed instead of the soldier who “couldn’t control himself,” the gay man is to blame because there are those uncomfortable with someone of same-sex attraction living and breathing the same air as them, and now you have those who have a problem with someone who is transgender serving alongside a cisgendered individual.

The whole point of the military is to defend and protect and fight for the country. Soldiers are meant to act as a unit. They aren’t gay women and black men anymore; they are soldiers. They are people who volunteered to be soldiers. If they want to fight, let them fight, and stop making excuses just to be a bigot.

We fought for this country on the basis of freedom, so give these people the freedom to do what they love.