On Friday, the Trump administration instituted its long-contested ban on transgenders serving in the United States military. According to comedienne Ellen Degeneres, this constitutes “hatred.”
“Tomorrow, the President’s ban on transgender people serving their country goes into effect. This isn’t about budgets. It’s hatred,” Ellen said on her official Twitter account.’
Tomorrow, the President’s ban on transgender people serving their country goes into effect. This isn’t about budgets. It’s hatred. https://t.co/trWZuEFovM
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 12, 2019
Ellen’s tweet included a link to a video message delivered by trans activist and military veteran Charlotte Clymer (formerly Charles) on CBS, in which he denounced the ban as a backward throwback to a time when the American military banned blacks, women, gays, and others.
The lies perpetuated about transgender people serving in the military have been thoroughly debunked and rejected by medical experts, by budget analysts, by military generals and admirals, by the vast majority of the American people, and, not least, by a history of Americans who have been barred from service and proved bigots wrong. They barred men of color. They barred women. They barred gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. We have been at this intersection of fear, cynicism, and outright ignorance many times, but we are always reminded that the only true threats to our country’s strength are hatred and an absence of character.
Last month, the Pentagon issued a strict policy that limits military service to people that identify by their biological birth gender. The military ban has faced scores of legal hurdles ever since President Trump announced the policy in 2017. In January of this year, a federal court ruled that lower courts had no authority to block it. The three-judge panel argued that considerable deference is owed to the executive branch on military policy, noting that the ban on transgenders was not a “blanket ban” and that it had been fine-tuned by Pentagon officials.
“The government took substantial steps to cure the procedural deficiencies the court identified in the enjoined 2017 presidential memorandum,” the panel said, adding that the partial ban “plausibly relies upon the ‘considered professional judgment’ of ‘appropriate military officials,’ and appears to permit some transgender individuals to serve in the military.”
The finalized version of the ban on transgenders disqualifies from service “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria,” and specifically those who “may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery,” except in “certain limited circumstances.”
Transgenders currently serving in the military are also placed under a strict code of conduct. According to a memo obtained by ABC News earlier in March, transgenders currently enlisted will be allowed to serve only “if they adhere to the dress and grooming standards of their biological gender,” permitting secretaries to give waivers only on a “case-by-case basis.” Transgenders serving in the military will also no longer be provided with medical transition surgeries.
At the time of the ban’s announcement in 2017, a viral video featuring an Army veteran explained that people with gender identity issues should not serve in the military, arguing that it should not be used as a “social experiment.”
“It’s your choice to do with your body what you wish, but the military is not there to serve as a social experiment, nor pay for transgender transitioning cost related to hormone replacement therapy, or sex change operations,” said the veteran. “The military serves as a fighting force that guards this nation and does not need to be burdened with the extreme changes it would be required to undergo to accommodate such a small demographic.”