Standing Up To Trump On the Trans Military Ban


What message is Trump’s exclusionary governmental policy toward trans people sending to LGBTQI youth?

Three tweets by Donald Trump told the world that transgender soldiers are a burden; transgender Americans are unwelcome to serve the country in which they were born and live.

Being a member of the armed forces is one of the most unselfish actions someone can take; putting oneself into harm’s way in some of the most dangerous locations in the world, residing in harsh heat and with minimal amenities so that you can protect the rights and freedoms of Americans you most likely will never meet.

I am not, nor have I ever been in the military. Although it does not seem hard to comprehend the sacrifices that our soldiers make so I can enjoy the freedom of being a transgender man.

My worry is the negative message that trans military exclusion sends to our transgender youth. Are we telling them they are not worthy of their own country? Are we reinforcing the views that many of them suffer through and survive from family members? Are they going to feel that even though they are willing to give their life for strangers’ rights, they are not human enough to have rights?

Living through the struggles I have had in my own life—homelessness because I did not have family to call when I fell on hard times, and surviving alcohol addiction to bury the feelings of abuse and abandonment—all of this ultimately led to me attempting to take my life.

I know how it feels to feel unwanted. I know how it feels to be considered unworthy. To be discarded by immediate family. My father’s last words to me years ago were, “I hate who you are, leave me alone.” Are these the words we are saying to our trans soldiers?

That their country hates who they are and has no problem forcing them to lose their jobs, their homes, their insurance, and their ability to provide for themselves and their families? How is this message going to resonate in the minds of our trans youth?

The need for us as adults to practice and push for diversity and inclusion is beyond crucial. We must stand up and stand out if we have any hope for our youth to have a chance at full and limitless equality. Children are taking their lives at an alarming rate due to the lack of acceptance of diversity in our school systems. It is time that we push for diversity training in our schools and workplaces.

When we hear someone make a negative comment about a member of any minority, it is time we speak up. Allowing the hate to happen in your presence makes you just as guilty as the one spewing it.

I plead with you to pledge to be someone who does not tolerate discrimination in any form, to be an advocate for diversity. As adults and allies, it is our job to make sure that our children know that they have worth no matter what their sexuality or gender identity is.

We need to send the message to our youth that we will stand beside and up for them—until there is a day that they have the right to be kids and grow up to be their true selves, to do so without the worry that they will be treated unequally. That when they are little and we tell them they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up, that it is true, even if they want to be a soldier.