BY TAYLOR FARNSWORTH
I will not allow or accept. I will not keep to my word of promising that I am for the LGBTQ community. I will not stand with nor support the thousands of Americans that are transgender and already serve our country. I will not stand with nor support the millions of other Americans that are transgender and had hopes of serving our country as well. I will not allow or accept.
In case you missed Wednesday’s three series tweet by President Trump, that about sums it up. In an attempt to legitimize his new ban against transgender individuals in the military, Trump claimed medical costs as the reason. Trump tweeted, “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.” Trump vowed multiple times during his rallies to protect the LGBTQ community, while this ban does the opposite.
The enforcement of the ban coming from a man who used the excuse of having bone spurs from having to serve his country is highly offensive to those suffering greater battles but still putting his or her life on the line for our safety. I hope Trump is reminded of this as millions of Americans who truly stand and support the LGBTQ community voice their outrage.
Many Republican and Democrat Senators have already voiced their disapproval of the new ban. Former Vice President, Joe Biden, tweeted, “Every Patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop.” While Republican and former prisoner of war, Senator John McCain, said in a statement that, “There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train and deploy to leave the military, regardless of their gender identity.”
This ban comes at a time where the Trump administration is under scrutiny. To call this a failing attempt to divert attention from the administration’s ongoing Russian scandals would not be entirely inaccurate. Trump seems to be desperately seeking any form of validation from his alt-right supporters to increase his approval ratings. But as we are repetitively seeing with Trump’s bans, policies, and bills, this new ban will not get very far in Congress nor will it likely end in his favor.
America is a place of freedom. Freedom to be who you want to be, love who you want to love, and be accepted by others in the process. At least that had always been my belief in what being an American stood for. While Trump argues that medical cost is the underlying reasoning to his new ban, it is hard to believe there wasn’t any influence from Vice President Mike Pence or White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon. Both Pence and Bannon have voiced their lack of support and understanding when it comes to the LGBTQ community. As Governor of Indiana, Pence broadcasted his belief in conversion therapy, while Bannon once stated that “Gay rights have made us dumber, it’s time to go back into the closet.”
The worst defense for Trump’s new ban is to categorize transgender individuals as being mentally ill and thus disqualifying them from serving our country. There is no comparison that can be made between mental illness and being transgender, aside from the lack of choice in both matters. No one chooses to be diagnosed with a mental illness and no one chooses to be born into the wrong body. Understanding transgender individuals and acknowledging his or her struggles must be accomplished going forward.
Serving our country is an honor, not a right. An honor that any qualified American should be able to have the privilege of doing. Qualifications for serving your country shouldn’t be based upon your race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The blatant civil rights issue of the matter is glaringly obvious. We should be grateful towards anyone willing to risk his or her life for our freedom, not put limitations on those allowed to fight for what they believe in.