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Fecteau: Tweets and Transgender Rights

Friday, July 28, 2017

 

Donald Trump

In a confused and frankly, strange Tweet, President Donald Trump let the world know transgender individuals are banned from serving in the Armed Forces. This outrageous and discriminatory announcement comes on the anniversary of President Harry S. Truman desegregating the Armed Forces. Unlike President Truman however, Mr. Trump seems to be committing to quite the contradictory.

The transgender ban appears no different than the obsolete ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy that was eventually revoked by President Barack Obama. The ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy was harmful in the fact it simply discriminated against those that were qualified for the job, but could not serve openly because of their sexual preference. If they were outed while serving, these individuals faced discharge, sometimes other than honorable, from the military.

Mr. Trump’s transgender ban hurts military readiness by discriminating against those most capable of serving, but considered unfit to serve because they are questioning their gender identity. As a veteran, I want the best and the brightest to serve in our Armed Forces for our protection, and simply don’t care about gender identity; that is a red herring. This is not that difficult to understand, but for someone such as Mr. Trump who received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, it can be a little difficult.

This transgender ban was unfair to our military leadership. It was completely blindsided by Mr. Trump’s disregard for those who currently are serving as transgender individuals. Instead of carefully crafted verbiage, methodically produced, Mr. Trump created a great deal of uncertainty and confusion within the ranks of the military. For the last couple years, the military was tediously producing doctrine to accommodate members of the transgender community and become a stronger, more diverse organization.

At the moment, in an ambiguous, callous Tweet, Mr. Trump has become a dire threat to this progress. Our military at present has to reverse course on an inclusive policy of diversity and acceptance all because of a draft dodging, billionaire commander-in-chief that appears more interested in division than acceptance.

The transgender ban is especially unfair to those transgender service members still serving. No one knows their future — including military leadership; it isn’t quite clear about how the military should deal with them. For those questioning their gender identity in the military, they must feel betrayed by the system and more importantly, by their commander-in-chief – a man who promised to be their friend.

Mr. Trump has been a complete disappointment as our commander-in-chief, and with each passing day, that disappointment has turned into utter disgust with unfortunate, regressive policies such as this that harm military readiness. The forthcoming transgender ban is a backward policy that needlessly discriminates against those serving while making us just that much weaker as a country, and military. Our military deserves the best, most qualified recruits available; this discriminatory policy ensures the opposite.   

Matt Fecteau ([email protected]) of Pawtucket, Rhode Island was a Democratic candidate for office in 2014 and 2016. He is a former White House national security intern and Iraq War veteran. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewFecteau

 

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