President Trump’s bigoted, comparatively inexpensive, and and bilaterally denounced ban on transgender people serving in the military will be challenged legally (in court and in the Senate). It’s also a gigantic slap in the face to trans people serving in the military. And they’re letting him know it stings.
Several trans troops (currently and formerly serving) have publicly called out Trump’s Twitter tirade and transphobic policy. They are predictably not pulling any punches.
Former Seal Team 6 member Kristen Beck (who won a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and Meritorious Service Medal) spoke to Business Insider about the military’s trans ban. Beck made Trump an offer he would undoubtedly refuse — but one I’ll continue to visualize.
From Business Insider:
“Let’s meet face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy,” Kristin Beck, a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALs, told Business Insider on Wednesday. “Transgender doesn’t matter. Do your service.”
Beck also emphasized that her decision to serve wasn’t discriminatory, she served despite potential personal disagreement. “I was defending individual liberty. I defended for Republicans. I defended for Democrats. I defended for everyone,” she said.
And then there’s this searing condemnation:
“They care more about the airplane or the tank than they care about people,” Beck said. “They don’t care about people. They don’t care about human beings.”
“A very professional unit with great leadership wouldn’t have a problem,” Beck said. “I can have a Muslim serving right beside Jerry Falwell, and we’re not going to have a problem. It’s a leadership issue, not a transgender issue.”
Currently serving transgender members of the military publicly called out their commander in chief as well. Air Force Staff Sgt. Logan Ireland told The Air Force Times that Trump’s announcement wouldn’t inhibit his right to serve.
“I would love to see them try to kick me out of my military,” Ireland said. “You are not going to deny me my right to serve my country when I am fully qualified and able and willing to give my life.”
Facing possible discipline, Ireland told the The Air Force Times:
“For the president to deny an able-bodied, fully qualified person the inherent right to raise their right hand and serve their country, potentially giving their own life for our freedoms, is doing this country an injustice,” Ireland said. “I would personally love for my president to meet me so I can tell him about myself, and the 15,500 honorably-serving transgender military members that are fighting right now for their liberties and their country.”
Army Staff Sgt. Patricia King, on her 18th year in the military, told CNN that she had not taken Trump’s announcement as a sign she would be discharged. She also questioned whether the ban would only affect recruits — as opposed to the some 15,000 trans troops currently serving.
“My service is not diminished in any way by what has transpired, and I’m eager to continue proudly serving my country,” said King. “I think there’s some ambiguity in the statement that was made and it’s going to take some further development to figure out the intent.
In summary: remind me again who notoriously dodged the draft five times? Ah, the president.