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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy

RampageWired

The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy

RampageWired

The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy

RampageWired

“It’s a Leadership Issue, Not a Transgender Issue”

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Slider image by Abby Kreisler. 

On Jan. 22, 2019, the Supreme Court voted five-four to pass one of President Donald Trump’s numerous campaign promises: a transgender military ban. This decision has nullified portions of the Obama Administration’s previous reversing of the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy.” The new policy gives the Pentagon the power to deny military entry to any transgender individual and may be used to remove active transgender military members.

The recent ban allows the Pentagon to deny military entry to anybody who is transgender. Photo from Wikimedia Commons, edited by Abby Kreisler.

The policy was first announced via twitter on July 2017 by President Trump. However, it was not officially released by the White House until 2018 when the former Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, announced it. The ban did not go into full effect until the Supreme Court nullified the injunction against it.

The policy does not simply ban anyone who identifies as transgender from joining the military, rather it bars anyone who has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a medical condition where one’s gender does not line up with the sex they were assigned at birth. The policy goes further and even says that transgender individuals who have not been diagnosed with gender dysphoria may only serve if they enter under the sex they were assigned at birth.

What started as a threatening tweet, quickly escalated into a debate of basic rights for U.S. citizens. Megan Peterson, the Executive Director of Gender Justice, argues that this ban is unconstitutional. She believes that, not only is the policy “lousy” and “unconstitutional,” but it is meant to “dehumanize and discriminate against transgender people.”

Rob Evans, a retired Senior Chief Navy Diver who served in the military for 21 years, takes a different stance. Evans says that joining the military is in fact, not a basic constitutional right. Evans notes that if joining the military was a constitutional right, “some could argue obese individuals who don’t meet current military standards or older individuals who don’t meet age requirements are discriminated against.”

He adds that individuals are turned away from the military for multitudes of reasons, including tattoos, mental health issues, and illegal drug use. This is not to say whether or not Evans supports the ban. In fact, he believes that if an individual meets the physical and mental requirements for serving in the military, they should be able to serve “regardless of gender, race, or sexual preference.”

This policy is not only affecting individuals of the transgender community who are serving in the military, but it is also affecting LGBTQ communities nationwide.

Blue Petty, an outspoken sophomore at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School (CVPA) in Saint Louis, says that the ban shows “how little respect transgender people receive.” Petty also fears that Trump’s Administration is “using the military as testing grounds for anti-queer legislation.”

This ban gives the Trump Administration more room to act against people who are transgender. Photo by Abby Kreisler.

The ban has sent a powerful message nationwide. The increase in discussions has exposed the nation to a situation that many individuals may have been partially blind to before.

Evans says that “if you would have asked me about transgender individuals eight years ago, I would have told you they were mentally ill and may not be able to function in a productive manner in society.” Evans adds that this was “ignorant” and his views changed drastically when he learned about Kristin Beck.

Beck served from 1990 to 2011 and retired from the Navy Seals after serving in Seal Team Six as a Senior Chief Petty Officer with several medals, including a purple heart. Beck became publicly transgender in 2013 and began hormone therapy along with sex reassignment surgery. In 2017, Beck said that a “professional unit” that had “great leadership” would not have a problem with someone who was transgender. She also said, “I can have a Muslim serving right beside Jerry Falwell, and we’re not going to have a problem. It’s a leadership issue, not a transgender issue.”

 

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