Letter to the Editor: Conflicted feelings at ending of transgender military ban

I wasn’t old enough to vote in the 2016 election, so I watched as so many of those around me voted for a man and administration that would actively work against my human rights in the following four years, and demolish the few protections the Obama administration had begun to work on. When I had come out, my parents reacted poorly, leaving me feeling as if one of my only paths to safely being myself was through the military – which was closed off when Trump banned transgender people from actively serving mere weeks before I was going to formally sign the paperwork to join the Airforce. I ended up not signing because I was tired of waiting to be myself, and I couldn’t see myself staying alive for another four years while being someone I’m not.

I didn’t serve due to being barred, but I know many of my trans siblings that made the other choice during these last four years – they went into the closet and masqueraded as a “normal” cisgender person. Many of those who serve do so because it is the only route presented to university, and the only path out of poverty. Queer and especially transgender people are marginalized, many of which relied on serving in the military as a route to safety from abusive environments and as a route out of poverty – meaning when the Trump administration banned trans service members, they also barred transgender people from safety, escape from poverty, and their humanity. Many of my peers are angry due to how we have been disenfranchised and consistently marginalized, bitter and resentful over the cissexist and dangerous attitudes presented by Trump, his administration, and his supporters. We feel conflicted because while we have these paths open to us again, it means we are once again prey for the military machine. Further, while it is a sign of hope towards a livable future coming our way, it is the bare minimum, given that being seen as people worthy of human rights ought to be the bare minimum.

Benton Goff
he / him / his
Rainbow Café Manager, Carbondale

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