For anyone who is living Patrick Starr-style and has not heard, President Trump announced a transgender military ban on July 26th, 2017—via Twitter. This was obviously a set back to the steady stream of progressive lawmaking that is designed to protect the rights of individuals in the LGBTQ community, but this set back should not be a surprise, even in 2017 United States. Although this has not progressed to the lawmaking level, this proves that the Trump administration is willing to backlash at any civil rights progress for the LGBT community.
The backlash of sexual regulatory regime has long preceded this transgender ban. For one thing, the Lavender Scare existed.
Do I mean the Red Scare? No. The Lavender Scare.
Like the majority of domestic and international history that is never written in textbooks, the Lavender Scare is overshadowed by McCarthyism during the Red Scare. Well what happened was during Post World War II era, this angry old guy, US Senator Joseph McCarthy, claimed he had a list of “215” employees in the Department of Justice who were communists or were associated with the Soviet Union somehow. This action caused this reverberated wave of investigations among all of the government employees within the Department of Justice. Officials did not find any communists lurking with in the mist of our fine bureaucracy, but they did out 91 homosexual government officials and fired them all.
Granted, it is not exactly the same situation as the transgender ban—but it’s exactly alike. Why? Because the Lavender Scare is one of many historical instances where the United States government has used the act of policing based on a societal norm that is fixed and fitted in their black and white world. Ever since then, individuals of the LGBT community have been marginalized on the legal level. One example is Texas’ outlawing same-sex sexual activity as demonstrated in Lawrence v. Texas where policemen entered a man’s residence mid-sexual interaction with his male partner and arrested the participating parties. Another is the fact that Alabama outlawed the distribution of dildos. The “Equal Employment Opportunity Policy” clause in every job application does not prevent an employer to reject someone due to their sexual orientation (*cough cough and their race and ethnicity but that’s for another article). Landlords can still refuse to give a lease to non-heterosexual couples even after Obama legalized gay marriage. These are a few reasons on why I’m not surprised about the ban on transgenders in the military.
One of the main arguments for banning transgenders is that their hormonal and transition surgeries would cost 2.4-8.4 billion dollars a year with the coverage of 1,320 and 6,630 actives according to a RAND research analysis released by the Department of Defense. Compared with the $537 million the military spends on the military marching band, a choice of changing genders for the mental stability of the transgender community in the military doesn't seem like a financial burden. Of course, taxpayers would not have to worry about paying for transgender medical costs.
But we tax-paying citizens also pay for medicine so that military men can properly erect their penises chemically every year—all $84 million. Viagra was originally tested as a heart and blood pressure medicine known as Sildenafil. But the scientists found that the drug also induced erections. And since we live in a patriarchal society (of course), Viagra was pushed under the category as medicine that can be covered by heath insurance companies since it was supposed to be heart medicine in the first place. A man’s inability to erect became a sexual disease on accident. If a military man has the free “choice” to erect via $84 million coverage in erectile dysfunction medication, shouldn't transgender people have the right to medical access for their transitioning as well?
“But there are transgenders that only join the military to mooch on our taxpayers’ medical insurance coverage,” is another fiscal argument for the the ban. Yet young people joining the military for the sole purpose of having their college tuition fully paid because it’s literally their only way to pay for college is not mooching on your taxes?
Taking away the financial backing of hormone treatments and transition surgeries for the transgender community in the military becomes a systematic backlash to the sexual regulatory regime. If a woman was in a domestically abusive relationship in which her partner blocked access to her bank account and finances, it would be a violation to her right as a free willing human being. Calling the transgender community’s medical needs a financial burden is an institutional marginalization of a sexual identity, not a budgeting situation.