Trump v Trans

From removing LGBTQ page from the white house website to rescinding anti-discriminatory laws in education and employment, trump has changed his tune in one year

On July 26, US President Donald Trump tweeted that transgender citizens will no longer be accepted in the US military to avoid the burden of “the tremendous medical costs and disruption.” He feels that “transgender individuals” serving in the military “in any capacity” may disrupt the focus on “decisive and overwhelming victory.” This was not the first time that he attacked the community.

Since January 2017, Trump has rescinded past executive orders that protected the rights of the trans, decided that they will not be counted under the 2020 census, and revoked certain non-discriminatory rights that they enjoyed. A new bill wishes to allow access to restrooms and changing facilities based only on the gender mentioned in the birth certificates. Another one wants to “bar all municipalities, counties, school districts, and state college and universities, from adoption… of any… policies to protect transgender or gender non-conforming people in bathrooms or changing facilities.

This is despite the fact that on June 14, 2016, during his election campaign, the president had tweeted: “Thank you LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. I will fight for you while Hillary (Clinton) brings in more people that will threaten your freedom and beliefs.” Unfortunately, the “I will fight for you” tenor has changed to ‘I will not fight for you, not let you fight for us.’

The intention to disallow trans from the military is based on flawed logic. As per the National Centre for Transgender Equality, there are 15,000 trans in the armed forces, and 134,000 veterans. However, a think tank, RAND Corporation, debunked Trump’s “cost and disruption” narrative. One, all the trans don’t seek gender transition. Two, the cost is abysmally low, and the active health care expenses will increase by a mere 0.04-0.13%. RAND added that there is “little or no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness.”

In addition, on June 29, Vicky Hartzler, chairman, House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (2018) to ban employing transgenders in armed forces. Though, the idea was rejected with 214-209 votes, what came up was the tweet with similar problems that of her — “costly and threat to readiness”.

Other objections to the LGBT community stand on shaky ground. Websites like LifeSite and Daily Signal say that the ‘gender rebels’, ‘gender confused’, or ‘gender-non-conforming’ comprise only 700,000 adults, or 0.3% of the total population. Thus, they say that the gender inclusive policies risk the “privacy and conscience rights of (the) larger pool” of the people.  Despite being a minority group, they are citizens, and should enjoy the same rights as the others.

Another argument against trans is that their rights interfere with those of the women.  For example, take the case of the justice and education department’s earlier policy to allow students in public schools access to bathrooms, dorms and locker rooms based on their self-identified gender. In February, this was rescinded, and parents and teachers had to “work together and find nuanced solutions that address the needs of everyone”. The reason: to respect women-only areas, and not allow a trans man, who identified himself as a woman, to use the facilities.

Recently, the previous regime’s decision to urge women in military to learn to shower with men as part of ‘transgender’ training, was challenged. The intent was that women should get comfortable with “gender-confused biological men”, and former army captain James Hasson described it as “watch my genitals while I urinate” to The Federalist. There is a problem if people use restricted spaces based on self-identification, rather than sex reassignment surgery, but taking away equal civil rights cannot be the solution.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964 bars any discrimination at the workplace, based on sex and gender identity. This is why these are part of the anti-discriminatory equal employment policies in the state departments and private sector. In June, the department of commerce removed them. However, they were retained after a fierce criticism. But in an argument in a federal court in New York, the justice department argued that Title VII didn’t protect discrimination against LGBT because it doesn’t mention “sexual orientation”.

All these decisions, and especially Trump’s latest tweet, gave fresh ammunition to the anti-LGBT groups. Timothy P Broglio, an archbishop for military services, said that “sexual orientation and gender identity issues reflect a “rapidly increasing and incorrect societal attitude” favouring immediate and personal choices over eternal truth.” Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council (FRC) — that also manages The Daily Signal — questioned the eligibility of the “cultural guinea pigs” in the armed forces. FRC “believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.”

For the pro-LGBTs, this is a rehearsed propaganda. “It’s kind of a political dog whistle… they’re trying to keep the opposition busy and distracted and also trying to throw a bone to the family research council,” Ariel Minkus, an activist and trans woman, told Patriot. “Hate groups like FRC have a detailed plan on forcing LGBTQ people out of public life. Basically, if you don’t like trans, they want you to be able to legally get away with denying jobs, housing, and medical access to them,” she added.

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