By Arun Gupta (July 28, 2017)
This is my take on Trump’s ban on transgender people in the military. It should be vigorously opposed, and that can be done without glorifying or supporting militarism and American Empire
Trump is throwing red meat to his base. It’s meant to delegitimize and dehumanize transgender people. He is telling his base that transgender people are not citizens. They do not have the same rights as you and I to be full social agents. They are not even fully human. That is the message of his ban. The danger is it will increase hatred, discrimination, and violence toward transgender people. And it will ripple outward with new discriminatory laws, policies, and regulations against the lives and well-being of transgender people through government, education, health, criminal justice, employment, and housing.
This transphobia is central to Trump’s white nationalist ideology and base, which is also deeply misogynist and patriarchal. The aim is to use state power to elevate straight white men by pushing everyone else into the shadows and into conditions of fear and even terror.
As such, Trump’s ban on transgender people is not about militarism and imperialism and opposing it is not support for those ideas unless you couch your arguments in those terms. So don’t talk about the patriotism and courage and bravery of transgender people or how they are fully capable of serving with honor, can protect the nation, praising vets who are transgender, and so on.
Do not encourage anyone to serve in the U.S. military, which is a scourge on humanity. But being blase about the ban or even saying, “Good!” because it undermines the military is playing into the reactionary and proto-fascistic attacks on transgendered people in American society.
A final note. I am not criticizing those who do or have served in the military. It’s a machine of death and destruction, but there are good people who I know who are vets, and a few who do still serve. It’s possible to oppose the institution and interests they serve with great vehemence while not demonizing individual soldiers. (Now if they actively participated in war crimes, like John McCain, I sincerely hope they rot.)