This Time I’m Really Mad

I am about to do something I almost never do here. I’m writing this one out of anger. That is not my usual style. I usually try to avoid direct attacks against people I disagree with. Instead, I try to understand why they think the way they do. But this time I’m just going to vent.

The event that triggered this rant was the Supreme Court decision to leave President Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military in effect until it is adjudicated. This one hits me where I live. Most of the people who read this probably already know that I am a transgender woman. I regard all trans women and men as my brothers and sisters. Because I have chosen not to transition, most of the laws and practices that oppress trans people do not affect me directly. But they do affect me. They kick me right in the gut. When they hurt my brothers and sisters they hurt me. A lot. And this one, this attempt to prevent trans men and women from serving our country in the armed forces, is pure unmitigated bullshit.

The day of the Supreme Court decision I watched a whole lot of television coverage about it. One of the programs interviewed two trans women in the military. The one who stuck in my mind the most is a sailor in the Navy. My own father served in the Navy in World II, so maybe that is why her story was especially powerful for me. This woman is not an officer. She is a rank-and-file sailor who is very proud to be exactly that. She talked about how she is just one of 5000 people running the huge ship she serves on, and how it is all those people, each doing his or her respective job, that make that ship work and keep it ready for action. All she wants is to do her job and she takes pride in doing it well. She is exactly the kind of person the Navy needs to be effective and the country needs to defend it. And, apparently, the kind of person our Commander in Chief thinks is not fit for military service.

But the President’s view does not seem to be that of the military command. One of the programs that day interviewed top-level officers from two different branches of the service. They were both asked if having transgender people in their branch caused any problems. Both said absolutely not. These are people who are concerned with running an effective military, not catering to the voters who elected a President who had neither political nor military experience. But it is that President who wants to decide the fate of not only the trans men and women who want to serve our country in the armed forces, but also the hundreds of thousands of other people who want to work for the federal government in other capacities but were not paid during his shut-down.

I have a certain amount of egg on my face concerning Trump and transgendered people. At the time of his campaign I was writing numerous articles and doing numerous radio programs in connection with my book “Woman Incognito.” Many transgender people were terrified by the prospect of a Trump presidency. I thought their fears were exaggerated and I said so. I was wrong and I am apologizing right now. I cut Donald Trump too much slack and there is no way I will do it again. At least not on something this close to my heart.


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