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The Propensity to Divide

Critical thinking absent in Trump’s proposed transgender ban

ERIK+THULIEN
ERIK THULIEN

ERIK THULIEN

ERIK THULIEN

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Last week, President Donald Trump signed an order to officially ban transgender individuals from serving in the military. Although General Mattis, the United States Secretary of Defense, will not act on the ban until an official study of the role of transgender troops in the military can be completed, the incredible lack of critical thinking put into the ban is worth discussing.

I don’t need to point out the obvious hatred and bigotry involved in something like this. If the idea that someone who is transgender is somehow unworthy of serving this country doesn’t seem hateful to you, then there really isn’t anything I can say that you will understand.

Instead, I think it is important to evaluate the logic (or lack thereof) behind this ban.

The entire idea is based on a false premise.

Trump and his supporters have claimed that if transgender individuals were allowed to serve, then there would be issues with cohesiveness, and that someone struggling with their identity would not be able to handle the stresses of combat.

These arguments are based on the idea that there aren’t any transgender soldiers in the military; or, at the very least,that transgender troops are very rare and not very successful.

However, this could not be further from the truth.

Gary Gates and Jody Herman of the UCLA Williams Institute studied transgender service in the U.S. Armed Forces in 2014. Their study estimated that there are currently 15,500 transgender service members in active duty or reserves, and that there are approximately 134,300 transgender veterans. These findings suggest that the percentage of the transgender population in the military is higher than that of the general population. Trump wants to tell 134,300 of our brave veterans that their service was illegitimate, and tell 15,500 of our current military members that they are unworthy of military service, just to score points with whatever base he has left.

This ban is just another example of the president’s complete lack of poise, character, and ability to lead. In a time when tensions are high with those who we do not consider allies, and when rhetoric has elevated to the point where military action seems uncomfortably possible, the last thing our leaders should be doing is denying any patriotic, able-bodied individual the right to serve in our military, just because their identity makes some less open-minded individuals uncomfortable.

Part of the role of the president is to bring the country together in times of tension, stress, and peril. However, it is clear that our president has a much greater propensity to divide than to unite.

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Award winning, student run, weekly campus newspaper of the University of Illinois, Springfield..
The Propensity to Divide