The Good: Transgender service members shine under pressure
On the morning of July 26th, Trump unexpectedly announced on Twitter that "the United States government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the military." But his administration's attempts to implement that policy have, so far, been unsuccessful. What Trump has unwittingly done, however, is draw public attention to the many transgender service members who "have and continue to serve with distinction," as District Judge Kollar-Kotelly noted in the first of several court rulings against the hasty ban.
Suddenly, transgender service members and veterans are being given large platforms to share their stories. MTV, for example, issued an open invitation to transgender military members to attend the Video Music Awards – and a small group of them ended up walking the red carpet. And as transgender soldiers speak up, the public is learning the stakes of Trump's actions. Retired Staff Sergeant Shane Ortega, who became one of the first public faces of transgender military service back in 2015, told Rolling Stone that the ban wasn't just about military service but about "who is considered a valid human being, and who is not a human being."
Trump's tweets – which claimed, without any evidence, that transgender inclusion in the military would cause "tremendous medical costs" and "disruption" – were deeply dehumanizing. But they have been followed by six months of the most humanizing attention transgender troops have ever received.