“We do not merely destroy our enemies, we change them.”
This quote from George Orwell’s 1984 is almost a good example of where we are living, at this moment. The very process of ensuring that someone cannot oppose you is making sure that they think the same way as you. If they are as you, in mind, body, and thought, then they cannot be your enemy. It has been passed into law that on January 22, 2019 that the government can now ban transgender men and women from serving in the military. This bill goes into detail saying that if you are diagnosed with gender dysphoria you will not be allowed to serve with limited exceptions. Individuals who are not diagnosed with this condition may serve, as long as they do so by the sex assigned to them at birth. It is a way of saying that the only sexual identity that matters is the one assigned to you at birth.
Before we jump into this, lets level the playing field and define some terms so that all of us are on level. Gender dysphoria, in simplified terms, is the conflict of one’s gender they were assigned with and the one they internally identify with. Gender nonconformity is defined as the degree to which an individual’s appearance, behavior, interests, and subjective self-concept deviate from the conventions of masculine and femininity norms. Gender dysphoria is treated with surgery reassignment, in most cases. Whereas in gender nonconformity can be modes of dress and mannerisms, such as men wearing makeup and style utilizing a masculine mode of dress.
The Pentagon and the Supreme Court are using similar arguments that the military is charged with keeping the most effective and lethal fighting force and that somehow allowing transgender to serve will hinder that directive. However, an eighteen-year-old is perfectly fine with being an effective lethal fighting force. I was under the impression that the military was charged with ensuring the training each recruit received was supposed to turn them into an effective and lethal fighting force. It would be understood that the training in question would be able to teach anyone these same skills. Though, it wasn’t that long ago that a similar argument was used about women in the military.
Trump was quoted, in a CNN Politics article titled SCOTUS transgender Ban , “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” VHA benefits do not cover the cost of any reassignment surgery and any VA facility is specifically banned from performing the surgery. This alone would limit the ability, in most cases, for the surgery to take place during active duty. Leaving those with gender dysphoria to be able to serve openly as their gender identity. How does this take away from any training they undergo? In an article from the AMA Journal of Ethics, it had been argued that the reassignment surgery was a medical necessity for those troops who are affected By gender dysphoria.
I get it, when you join the military you sign away your free will, for the most part. You are told what to do and what to think. From the time you sign your name on the contract you become property of the United States Military. You are taught methodologies, you are drilled in to reactions for given situations, and you constantly practice/drill until you know how to react to most given situations. The uniforms are as neutral as they can possibly be, so as not to distract you from how you are supposed to act. They are designed with effectiveness to hide you in most terrains. But in the end, you are a person who believes that you are fighting for the rights of you, your loved ones, and this very country.
The military has progressed, albeit sluggishly, in moving forward with the times. At one point only Caucasians were allowed to serve and then minorities like Native Americans and African Americans were allowed to serve. As wars unfolded and alliances changed, we even allowed those that were once considered enemies to be a part of our country and serve with pride. Women were not allowed to serve, then brought in as support personnel before finally being given the freedom to serve along their male counterparts. And, mostly, women are seen as equal with the abilities to be as lethal and effective in combat as men. So why is this struggle any different?
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, the government was only denying those who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria to serve, but if you were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria and agreed to serve as the gender you were assigned, then there is no issue. This doesn’t leave any grey area. You can identify as transgender, but you must concede in living as the gender you were assigned and not actively seek to follow treatments with hormones or surgery. Even gender nonconformists would not be able to serve in a fashion that aligned with their identity, as they would not be able to wear garments of the opposite sex.
This ruling only goes to solidify that in all the advances forward LGBTQ people are still seen as a mental or genetic illness that can be cured. Our very existence is not quantifiable as reality to a large percentage of people. Many of us live in the false reality that times are better and we are widely more accepted. I would argue that we may be more visible, but the hatred is still there only reshaped by the environment. We have only landed and not advanced on the beachhead, the bullets are flying because we are seen by those who wish to subdue us. I leave you with two quotes by Dr Martin Luther King, Jr that are very relevant to this day and age.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”