This week, I am yet again writing in the aftermath of a very public and visible injustice.
Last week, I wrote on how many of us considered the suicide from Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington, and suicide in general, selfish. This week, I am writing in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s banning of transgender people from the military.
There are many things which are wrong and unjust about the transgender military ban. For starters, he is factually wrong on the claim that transgender people are medically costly for the military; in the absolute worst-case scenario envisioned by a Rand Corporation study of the cost of transgender health care, there would be “a 0.04- to 0.13-percent increase in active-component health care expenditures.” He was also factually wrong on the claim that transgender military cause disruption—just ask the United Kingdom military chiefs who praised transgender troops or the Israeli military people saying that transgender troops are not a disruption. And then there is the fact that active transgender members of the military are left in limbo as a result of Trump’s tweets. There were other wrongs and injustices that Trump committed with the transgender military ban, but those are just a few that come to my mind.
But I don’t want to spend this entire post bashing Trump for this action, because quite honestly, there are probably hundreds of blog posts which do that job already. Instead, I want to use Trump’s action as an opportunity for self-reflection among all of us.
Namely, for those of us who claim to be pro-LGBTQ+ (like Trump did in his convention speech last summer), we should reflect on whether our actions back up any pro-LGBTQ+ words.
There are a few questions I want to ask, in order to help others reflect:
- Do you actually do anything to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals?
- Do you speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ injustices in public, on social media, at home, the homes of other family or friends, or anywhere else?
- Do you go beyond the level of having a “gay friend” or “trans friend” (akin to the “black friend” idea), and actually do something to stand up for the best interests of that LGBTQ+ friend?
- Are you just welcoming of LGBTQ+ friends, or are you actually affirming of their identities?
- Do you really believe that LGBTQ+ people deserve the same opportunities as straight people, or do you believe that there are limitations on what they can do?
- What do you say to others when you talk about your LGBTQ+ friends?
I urge every one of you, as my readers, to honestly reflect on these questions, and do some reflection outside of the scope of these questions. Reflecting on questions like these helped me realize that there is more I could do, and maybe will help some of you realize that there is more you can do. If you reflect on these questions and realize that some of your actions might not support your words on LGBTQ+ issues, then at least you can make positive changes. But if you don’t reflect on questions like these, you run the risk of being like President Trump—claiming to be pro-LGBTQ+, but performing actions which show the opposite.
Author’s Note: This was written at the last minute as a response to President Trump banning transgender people from the military. As such, there may be mistakes in this post. I apologize in advance for those mistakes.