“You have sacrificed nothing and no one.”
These were the words that Khizr Khan, the father of a slain Iraq War soldier, spoke publicly to then-candidate Donald Trump, contrasting his son’s national service with Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration to the United States in the name of “national security.”
The thousands of transgender people currently serving in the United States military could say the same. Trump’s decision this week to bar transgender individuals from serving in the military “in any capacity” cites “the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail” but ignores the facts.
First, gender variant people are already serving and have done so since at least the American Revolution. For example, Robert Shirtliff served for almost two years in the Continental Army but was wounded in 1783 — when medics discovered female breasts under the soldier’s masculine clothing. Born Deborah Sampson, the soldier was honorably discharged at West Point and eventually awarded a military pension.
Another fact President Trump tramples over: Health care for transgender people is not costing the military “tremendous” amounts. In fact, according to Business Insider, the Pentagon spends five times as much on Viagra as it does providing health care to transgender troops.
And readiness? The Pentagon investigation into the impact of trans people on military readiness, which Trump himself commissioned, is not due until December. His recent announcement — via tweet, not news conference — seems to have caught the military itself off guard. And the Rand Corporation, a far-from-liberal research organization, recently found that trans service members posed no threat to military readiness.
But of course, President Trump has never worried about the facts. His success and support have always relied on the crowd-pleasing tactics of the reality TV star and the demagogue: fear and hate. In contemptuously…