Now, transgender people cannot be in the US military service. This was announced by White House aides on March 23. The orders are a follow-up on President Trump’s announcement last year that he intended to reverse Barack Obama’s previous policy which allowed transgenders to serve in the US military.

As per an article in The Guardian, a memo from the secretary of defence said trans people are “disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances”.

The White House said the policy came after “extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders”.

The Trump administration said retention of transgender people in military service “presents considerable risk to military effectiveness and lethality”.

However, neither the announcement, nor the memo elaborate on the said “expert advice” or “study”

Service to nation is a privilege and right for every gender

When Trump had put out tweets to announce ban on transgender people from the US military, he had said that “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”.

Trump’s decision openly reeks of bias towards transgenders. What kind of disruption is on his mind, which transgender people might bring in military? The only factor which should be of concern when it comes to military service is intention.

The intention to serve one’s nation does not fall under any specific gender category

Military service is a matter of honour and pride. For most military people, this honour defines their existence. In one stroke, Trump has taken away both honour and identity from transgenders serving in the military. There can only be two outcomes of this order. Either transgender people will leave the military for the sake of their gender identity, or they will choose to bury their gender identity for the sake of their service. Both outcomes are unfair to transgender people and US military. While people with skills will leave their jobs to embrace their identity, many others may choose to put a lid on their identity. But then military will be full of unhappy and conflicted soldiers.

In times when countries are opening up to the idea of equality in all aspects of society, the Trump administration is setting a poor example. Also, to call them unfit or a burden on military is an insult to all trans people who have served in military till date.

No person should have to make a choice between their love for nation and their identity

It isn’t the trans people who need to exit military. It is the bias towards them which needs to exit the mentality of the institution and administration. Discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sex is very common in all walks of life. But it is sad that even the task of ending people’s misconceptions and bringing equality to sexually marginalised communities is labelled tiresome and expensive. So in the end, we need to question the will of society and administration to accept the third gender instead of questioning transgender people’s devotion to their country.

Picture Credit: breitbart.com

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

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