President Trump’s July 26th tweet banning transgender service members from serving in the United States military is discriminatory and unpatriotic. As former Vice President Joe Biden stated via Twitter, “Every patriotic American who is qualified to serve in our military should be able to serve. Full stop.” He’s absolutely right. Trump’s tweet is lacks the decency, honor, and respect for the more than 15,000 transgender troops that serve in the United States military. Everyday, they put their lives on the line for their country. The statement by the Commander-in-Chief makes these service members a target by potentially endangering their lives and the statement does further harm by undermining our military readiness. They deserve better. We deserve better.
Ironically, Trump’s tweets came on the 69th anniversary of the executive order issued by President Harry Truman that desegregated the military. Over the objections of many white officers, Truman signed Executive Order 9981, on July 26, 1948, which stated, “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” Truman’s order began a decades-long, and still imperfect, effort by the military to turn itself into one of the most integrated institutions in our society. In the 1990s, the argument shifted to the role of women in the military and continues to this day.
Arizona Senator John McCain said it best when he noted, “We should all be guided by the principle that any American who wants to serve our country and is able to meet the standards should have the opportunity to do so — and should be treated as the patriots they are."
Whether Black, White, Hispanic, Native American, or Asian, these patriots include many LGBTQ+ individuals that proudly and bravely serve the United States each and every day. An attack on these brave men and women is an attack on us all. Let’s not dishonor their service.
Charles A. Sumpter, Jr.
Safe Space NOVA