Transforming Trans-phobia: America’s Military Evolves


During the GOP debate/dogmatic jubilee earlier this month, Mike Huckabee (a.k.a. the other hate-mongering Presidential hopeful–not to be confused with the infamous Trump) seized an opportunity to pontificate about the military’s purpose; he did so, however, at the expense of transgender service members. According to Huckabee:

“The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things. . . . It’s not to transform the culture by trying out some ideas that some people think would make us a different country and more diverse. The purpose is to protect America.”

Then, adding insult to aspersion, Huckabee continued: “I’m not sure how paying for transgender surgery for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines makes our country safer.”

Huckabee’s comments at the debate were a decidedly tamer version of remarks he made in an earlier interview with Newsmax TV. In that interview, he compared the importance of gender reassignment surgery to elective breast enhancement, suggesting that if taxpayers were required to fund gender reassignment surgery, it followed that we would also have to fund breast augmentation.

Second Nexus
via Flickr user sonicfour

It is likely that Huckabee is attempting to refocus a few watts of the national spotlight on himself and away from Donald Trump. But it is just as likely he is using the issue in order to distinguish himself from Jeb Bush who recently came out in support of the Obama administration’s push to allow transgender individuals to serve openly in the military.

The State of Things

Since the 1960s, transgender people have been prohibited from serving in the military. The experience of being transgender, also called “gender dysphoria,” is when a person does not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth. Gender dysphoria can cause severe anxiety and depression, and a University of California School of Law study found that a staggering 41% of transgender individuals had attempted suicide. Some, but not all,

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