Here we go again. Donald Trump's latest efforts to ban as many transgender people as possible from serving in the U.S. military is another example of his efforts to appease the xenophobes, homophobes and bigots in his base rather striving to be everyone's president. It is exceedingly clear that Trump does not care about what is just. He only cares about his ego and feeding it no matter the cost. Today this cost are the rights of the transgender community.
I have great concerns with U.S. endless wars and our nation's foreign policy being one of global domination and disregard for the rule of law and human life. I do not advise anyone to join the U.S. military today. But I know that the right to serve one's country in the military has been part of our nation's historical process of acceptance and inclusion. No matter my position on U.S. wars, I understand that no U.S. citizen should be denied the right choose to join or not to join our nation's military. My ancestors struggled for the right to serve as equals in the U.S. Armed Forces. I was able to exercise my right to serve because of the struggle for dignity and equality of those who came before me. The rights of transgender people are also part of that struggle. Many of the same arguments about unit cohesion and readiness used today to justify banning transgender people were used to continue the practice of segregated units, to keep gay people out of the military and to stop women from serving in combat roles. My ancestors did not only struggle for their and my rights, but for all people's rights.
With this second attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, again the Trump Administration shows that it has no respect for people's rights or the Constitution of the United States. Choosing to join or not to join the U.S. military is a personal decision that should not be determined by government. The only obstacle should be standards that are the same for everyone, not qualifications that clearly target a specific group to ensure to keep them out.
Trump is the "What can I do today to hurt someone today?" president. He does not seek to lift up the best of our nation. He cultivates our country's worst fears and tendencies of xenophobia, prejudice, exclusion and bigotry. It is my hope that our nation has come to a place where most of us understand that a central aspect of freedom is the right to make choices. People must be able to decide for themselves to join the military or not.
No one should be treated as a second-class person. We must stand with our transgender brothers and sisters just as we must stand with all those under attack by this Administration. Trump is not making America great. He is trying to tear us apart. We must remember what really makes America great; the ideals we profess and the progress we make as we the people strive to live up to those ideals.
Veterans For Peace statement condemning President Trump's attempt to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military
Michael T. McPhearson, Executive Director, Veterans For Peace