On Service: A Response to Trump’s Transgender Military Ban


As a member of the LGBT community the greater New York City area, my struggles are not immense. I feel free to reveal and discuss my bisexuality knowing that most likely the worst that will come of it will be some lewd comment from a man who will have ended our conversation then and there whether he realizes it or not.

I am never unaware of the privilege I, a bisexual woman, was bestowed by pure luck by being born in the right place. A place that is renowned for its tolerance for difference, and especially the prevalence of the LGBT community.

But even here, in this “safe” space, I know my trans friends and colleagues and all those I’ve yet to meet are not safe. It is not uncommon to look at the day’s news and learn that a trans man was beaten to death by an insecure cisgender man in a public restroom, or a trans woman being found dead on the sidewalk killed for simply being who she was and expressing it openly.

I cannot imagine opening up the local news in less accepting locales, places like North Carolina where the infamous “bathroom bill” debate was sparked.

I cannot imagine offering to sign up and risk my life to protect a country where plenty of its citizenry want me dead, and plenty more want to deny me basic rights. I cannot imagine having the courage and the heart to stand up and fight for every decent American if I saw people like me being murdered on the streets just for being like me.

However, many transgender people have answered that call to service with that courage. In fact, the flag that many would recognize as the transgender pride flag was invented by a veteran of the US Navy, a woman named Monica Helms.

People all around the nation volunteered to step up and put their lives on the line not only for us, but also for the people who would have their rights stripped away, their identities erased, and even their lives taken.

President Donald Trump told those people “no.”

He told a legion of loyal soldiers that they were “too expensive” to care for, so expensive it would undermine the utility of our military.

He told an entire community of brave souls who signed up to fight and possibly to die for their country that if they’re a woman with a penis, go home (but hey, if you’re a man with a penis that doesn’t work, they’ll be happy to supply you with as much Viagra as you need).

It is an absurdity that would be comical were it not so serious, and indicative of an even larger problem.

Like the protesters out in Times Square yesterdat, we all need to come together to protest this decision. As members of the LGBT community especially, we need to be vocal, we need to be loud, and we need be that now. I have witnessed so much bickering within the community, so much gatekeeping, so many games of Oppression Olympics. This needs to be put aside in our response to this Tweet. The nation needs to know that an attack on one of us is an attack on all. We cannot sit back and watch the rights of our trans brethren be trampled simply because it doesn’t affect us.

That goes for you too, Straights, don’t think I forgot about you.

We all – as human beings who try to live lives of kindness and decency – need to come together and fight this blatant act of discrimination.

These soldiers stood up to fight for us – now it’s our turn to do the same.

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