When you're a spoilt little rich man with a poor combover and you by some miracle (ahem, Russia) manage to win the US election, of course you take it upon yourself to prove to the world what a total dick you are. (Editor's note: stronger words were used here initially, but I didn't want to waste all my anger on the first paragraph.)
It still baffles me, months on, that Donald Trump is the President of the United States. I'm not even from the United States, but I've feared what this power-hungry maniac is capable of doing to the country's people, its resources, and quite frankly, the rest of the world.
Just when I thought his plate was full, what with racial bigotry (dick), determination to strip women of their reproductive rights (dick), and the fun prospect of ripping through what's left of indigenous land (dick), he goes and bans trans people from serving in the US military. DIIIIIiiiiiiIIIIIICCCCCcccKKKKKK!
Here's what the little ray of Republican sunshine had to say about his latest move in his four-year game of Monopoly: Let's Fuck Up America edition:
Quite understandably, everyone is furious. Protests have erupted all across the US, with a personal favourite being the rally outside the White House, where protestors chanted 'we're here, we're queer, we hate the fucking president.' So. Good.
I'm also loving that protestors are mocking Trump because he didn't have the guts to serve his country himself, despite being called up to fight during the Vietnam War. He deferred serving five times overall when drafted to serve, initially blaming bone splints in his heels, and later stating that he wanted to pursue his education. Poor Donald.
Whilst I could rant about this supposed leader of the Free World all day, I'll stop and dish out some facts that surround this whole trans ban bullshit.
Trump's reasoning against transpeople entering the military is supposedly to do with medical costs. FACT: According to the RAND's 2016 report, trans-related medical treatment would actually cost the US government very little: 'Using private health insurance claims data to estimate the cost of extending gender transitionâ€“related health care coverage to transgender personnel indicated that active-component health care costs would increase by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, representing a 0.04- to 0.13-percent increase in active-component health care expenditures.'
Trump seems to also believe that these medical costs alone would bleed the military's funding dry, because - in his mind - every trans serviceperson would of course seek out gender-affirming care, which would distract them too much if they were in action. FACT: Based on the same RAND report, estimates show that trans troops make up only around 2,450 of the 1.3million active service members. That's literally a minuscule fraction of the US military. Whilst some transpeople that are serving may seek treatment, that's an even smaller fraction: 'Estimates derived from survey data and private health insurance claims data indicate that, each year, between 29 and 129 service members in the active component will seek transition-related care that could disrupt their ability to deploy.'
In addition, Trump thinks that trans people in the military who do choose to undergo transition-related treatment will have a massive impact on overall military readiness. FACT: The RAND report concluded that 'the readiness impact of transition-related treatment would lead to a loss of less than 0.0015 percent of total available labor-years in the active component.' This figure is nothing in comparison to those only in the Army unable to deploy for whatever reason. 'In the Army alone, approximately 50,000 active-component personnel were ineligible to deploy in 2015 for various legal, medical, or administrative reasons â€” a number amounting to around 14 percent of the active component.'
It only takes a few of these facts, if any, to out this ban for what it is: bigotry. Military from other countries around the world, including the UK, Canada, and even Israel, have all stated how minimal the impact of trans people in the armed forces actually is, with little to no cost in terms of finances or military readiness.
It wasn't until Obama's administration that the 1994 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy was removed from military regulation, where gay, bisexual and transexual service members were stopped from serving openly, or risk dishonourable discharge. Many trans service members were also often discharged by commanders on the grounds of medical regulation, although this generally was a cover-up for discrimination against transpeople. A 2014 report stated that the ban was based on outdated rationale that encouraged the idea that gender dysphoria affected a member of the armed forces' ability to serve.
When the open sexuality ban was lifted in 2016, the Department of Defence argued that 'it must have access to 100 percent of America's population for its all-volunteer force to be able to recruit from among the most highly qualified, and to retain them.'
Nobody's really sure how Trump's latest move will translate into actual policy, but it certainly shows - not that we didn't really know already - that the man who claimed to be the only pro-LGBT Republican pre-election only said such things to help him in the polls.
Whilst it's justified to direct anger towards Trump during this total shit storm, it's also equally as important to direct love towards the LGBTQA+ community and transpeople. Transpeople are not a burden; they are valued, both as a community and as individuals. Transpeople are deserving of better than this bullshit, they are deserving of equal human rights. Transpeople are important and should be treated as such. To the trans community, we stand with you.