Saturday, July 29, 2017

Trump's Transgender Military Ban is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" All Over Again.

Among the countless disgusting things that Donald Trump has done is to make a pact with Christofascists and evangelical Christians whereby in exchange for their support, he would reignite the culture wars against LGBT Americans. Sadly, keeping his promises to these hate merchants has been one of the few campaign promises Trump has kept.  The sudden diktat this week that transgender troops are unwelcome in the U.S. military is but one example of this poisonous alliance. Another is Jeff Sessions' filing of an amicus brief in a civil lawsuit where the government is not a party to argue that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 affords no protections to LGBT citizens. Yet another cloud over LGBT Americans exists in the form of the pending bill in Congress which would grant Christian extremists the right to discriminate at will against LGBT individuals in accommodations, services and even medical treatment if they cited religious belief as the motivation for their bigoted actions.  A column in U.S. News and World Reports looks at this slide back towards hate and bigotry. Here are excerpts:
It was with a familiar sickness of heart that I watched as President Donald Trump launched an all-out assault on the LGBTQ community and active duty service members by tweeting that he is reinstating a transgender military service ban. You see, I've been there. . . . . I was discharged because I am gay. I still mourn the loss of the career I had aimed for, serving the country I love.
Sadly, Trump's heinous and disgusting action – which could lead to the discharge of as many as 15,000 transgender Americans serving our country at this critical time – is "don't ask, don't tell" all over again. Trump's nakedly political aim to isolate, target and discriminate against transgender troops courageously serving our country has, in a few hundred Twitter characters, threatened to return us to a deeply shameful policy that weakens our military. Discharging thousands of highly trained and talented troops just because of their gender identity would be unconscionable.
I was just out of college when I decided to enlist, after the tragic events of Sept. 11. Though I was proud to honorably serve my country in the U.S. Marine Corps, after re-enlisting for another four years, I knew I could no longer go on pretending I wasn't gay.
I wanted to continue to serve, but the law said I was suddenly unfit for duty, simply because of who I am. A huge burden was lifted off of my family's shoulders when "don't ask, don't tell" was finally repealed under President Barack Obama, allowing my Marine husband to keep his distinguished career. He's now serving a year-long deployment in one of the world's most dangerous areas.
All of our brave troops – including my husband, who is currently serving in harm's way – are counting on us to have their backs, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Instead, since the day he set foot in the White House, Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have appointed anti-LGBTQ extremists across the government and sought to roll back our rights at every turn. It's bad enough that Trump and Pence oppose marriage equality, that they endorse license to discriminate laws, that they defend anti-LGBTQ measures like North Carolina's HB2, that they appoint anti-equality justices and that they campaign with anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
It is a new low to target thousands upon thousands of actively serving transgender members of the U.S. military, and impugn the honor of tens of thousands more who have served with valor and distinction — including more than 134,000 transgender veterans who are alive today. This attack undermines military readiness and harms the military's ability to recruit and retain the best and the brightest, regardless of their gender identity.
We enlist and commission to protect our most fundamental values: freedom, justice, equality under the law. It is an outrageous tragedy that our commander in chief has decreed transgender troops – who are fighting for those ideals we all share – should be treated so shamefully.

Trump and Pence are hardly the only anti-LGBT Republicans in Washington.  In the northern portions of  Hampton Roads Congressman Rob Wittman - a man who the best I can tell never served in the military himself - is supporting the ban on the pretext that the military needs to save money (this is a portion of a statement I secured from Wittman's extremely nasty press person): 
Rep. Wittman voted in support of an amendment offered by Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri that would have prohibited the use of taxpayer dollars for gender reassignment surgery and hormone therapy for members of the U.S. military. Mr. Wittman's belief is that the job of the U.S military is to fight and win our nation’s wars but that the current, ill-conceived, transgender policy will most likely lead to increased costs, decreased readiness, and decreased lethality.

Naturally, Wittman has no problem with the fact that the military spends ten times as much money on Viagra prescriptions than it does for transgender health service.  And, of course, he has no problem with the millions wasted every weekend when Trump travels to Florida or one of his golf resorts at taxpayer expense.  Hmm . . .  why do I think of the word hypocrite? 

Don't get me started on "friends" who voted for this toxic regime.

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