By Brooke Maylath
An old Chinese curse says “May you live in interesting times.” We are in the middle of some very interesting times, indeed. This country’s current administration has declared open war on some of this nation’s proudest patriots by denying transgender people their right to serve in our military.
There are records of transgender people serving our country in every war this nation has ever fought.
There are an estimated 15,500 transgender personnel serving in the US armed forces, today. It is readily apparent that this administration lacks any understanding about core military values and principles: all persons capable of serving their country should be allowed to do so and all military personnel should serve with honor and integrity. The military should not needlessly separate personnel who are willing and able to serve honorably and with integrity.
The excuse that the medical costs are too high is unsubstantiated and unfounded.
It’s yet another “alternative fact” directly from the Twitter feed of a man who received five deferments from Vietnam. The Washington Post has identified that the military spends five times as much on Viagra as it would on transgender troops medical care. Let’s not forget that transgender medical care is determined to be Medically Necessary by every bona fide medical society in the United States.
Let’s also not forget Vice President Mike Pence, who signed into law a dreadful, discriminatory bill aimed directly at the LGBTQ community when he was Governor of Indiana. The Niemöller poem, “First they came for…”, still rings true. First, they are coming for the transgender community.
Let’s put this in context with the actions at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Currently, half of the Senate is working with the Trump Administration to take health care away from tens of millions of Americans. This disproportionately affects the health of transgender people, as the Affordable Care Act was the first legislation that allowed many of us to purchase health insurance. But even more, it affects each and every person in this nation, as we are all interconnected through public health and epidemiology.
Look in the mirror. You’re next. Stand up, today, and resist this hate-filled administration, before there is no one left to speak for you. Get involved with a group that appeals to you. Support a cause that fights for justice!
Brooke Maylath is President of Transgender Allies Group, a Reno based organization that works to secure transgender civil rights in Nevada. She is an 18-year resident of Northern Nevada who also provides business consulting and strategic planning to local health care providers.
(Cover photo courtesy of Air Combat Command, U.S. Air Force)