From the Associated Press, via the Military Times: “Long term, lawyers and activists battling to ensure that transgender people can serve openly in the US military are convinced they will prevail. Short term, they are braced for anguishing consequences if the Trump administration proceeds with its plan to sharply restrict such service. The US Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote Tuesday, gave the administration the green light to put the policy into effect even as legal challenges continue.
“‘I’m absolutely optimistic with respect to the long-term prospects,’ said Sharon McGowan, legal director of the LGBT rights group Lambda Legal, which is pressing one of the lawsuits. ‘The question is: How long is the long term?’”
Good question, Sharon.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Supreme Court ruled, in a 5-4 vote, to allow Rump’s nutty ban on transgender people serving in the military to take effect, despite the fact that there are still legal challenges to the ban pending in the courts. The reactionary majority on the court — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh — did exactly what we expected of them by putting bigotry ahead of civil rights. How these subhumans can sleep at night is beyond me. Maybe they’re vampires and simply don’t sleep at night. Maybe it turns out that the whole sunlight-destroys-vampires bit is a myth. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to discover that in point of fact the United States is governed by the undead.
How else to explain the open and irrational animus against the trans community demonstrated by the Executive and Judicial Branches of the government? That they’re really a bunch of vampires is as good an explanation as any, though it’s kind of unfair to vampires.
“McGowan and other activists see parallels between the battle and the 17-year saga involving the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that prohibited gay men and women from serving openly in the armed forces,” the AP reporter, David Crary, continues. “After prolonged controversy and litigation — as well as the discharge of more than 13,000 military personnel — Congress repealed the Clinton-era policy in 2010, and gay service members were able to serve openly beginning in 2011.”
Andy Blevins, who served in the Navy from 2007 to 2011 and underwent three investigations related to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell before he was finally discharged, is now executive director of OutServe-SLDN, which represents LGBTQ military personnel.
“Blevins grows emotional in describing the ‘daily struggle’ to keep his sexual orientation a secret before repeal of ‘don’t ask,’” Crary writes, “yet he suggested that currently-serving transgender people face even tougher circumstances. They were told in 2016, in the waning months of the Obama administration, that they would be able to serve openly, then were jolted in 2017 when President Donald Trump tweeted his intention to ban all transgender people from the military. ‘They were told it’s OK to be transgender… then the rug is pulled out from under these dedicated service members,’ Blevins said.”
Integral to any mainstream article about the LGBTQ community is the verbal equivalent of the clown car, and this article is no different. I suppose it’s considered a journalistic obligation to include our adversaries and their rancid opinions, but do they always have to be the same people? (Answer: yes, because there are fewer and fewer people out there who are willing to go on the record as card-carrying members of the asinine bigot community.)
“Supporters of Trump’s efforts include” — wait for it — “Tony Perkins, a Marine veteran who is president of the conservative Family Research Council. He says the courts should not interfere with the ability of the US president as commander in chief to set military policy.”
Perkins, who is the go-to guy for reporters needing an asshole to offer a quote in order to provide — what is the word? — ah yes: balance. As always, Perkins obliges.
“The Pentagon isn’t in the business of equality,” Perkins said recently. “Either the military’s priority is protecting America — or it’s helping people on the path to self-actualization. It can’t do both.”
Perkins is correct; the Pentagon it’s not in the business of equality. We have the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for that. The military is not a branch of government. Unfortunately, when the commander-in-chief is an even bigger asshole than Tony Perkins is, military policy does fall under the purview of the bigger of the two competing assholes, in this case President Bone Spurs.
Personally, I’ve never seen the appeal of the military for gay people, transgender people, and other marginalized groups. It seems to me that you’d end up spending literally years with fascists and fascist sympathizers. Then again, my parents paid my college tuition, which the military covers in exchange for service, and they also had the financial wherewithal to ship me off to Canada had I been drafted during the Vietnam War. (Just to make sure, I registered as a conscientious objector when I turned 18, even though the war was over.) My point is that people choose to join the military for reasons that have nothing to do with a desire to participate in the world’s greatest killing machine.
“But Lambda Legal’s McGowan said top military commanders have said there were minimal problems related to the Obama administration’s moves to allow transgender service,” Crary continues. “The Trump policy, she said, ‘has nothing to do with national security or unit cohesion — it’s about throwing red meat to a portion of Trump’s political base.’”
Crary concludes, “For LGBT rights leaders, Trump’s proposed ban is only one of several attacks on transgender Americans. They also cite a Justice Department memo concluding that civil rights laws don’t protect transgender people from workplace discrimination and the scrapping of Obama-era guidance encouraging school officials to let transgender students use bathrooms of their choice.”
I don’t know about you, but for me, reading things like this just makes me want to throw up. I mean, what is the fucking problem? “Justice Department?” My ass.