In my news feed on Facebook I will be served a daily dose of Christian affirmations from friends. In this series of posts, which I call “Facebook Affirmations™,” I will post and discuss some of these gems.
Today’s Facebook post doesn’t come from my own feed, but it inspired such grotesque feelings that I wrote a response that likely wouldn’t ever have seen the light of day and I want to share it here. The Facebook post in question had these points to make (paraphrased and summarized by me):
The military has changed its stance on transgender service members to where, like homosexual service members, they can openly serve without fear of being persecuted or kicked out of the military
Transgender service members will have access to healthcare needs via the normal service members’ healthcare system, which may include gender reassignment and/or hormones
This country doesn’t do enough for veterans (MY NOTE: I have no idea what this had to do with anything because it’s completely unrelated to transgender service members unless the context is the support of transgender veterans…but it wasn’t)
Transgender people and their medical needs are just gross
My response follows but this response was never published because the Facebook member who created the original post is not on my friends list. Consider this:
I find it difficult to believe that anyone who has been paying attention to the way LGBT people have been treated in this country would adopt an opinion like this. Given that homosexuals had been serving honorably in the Armed Forces prior to the repeal of DADT and, subsequently, have caused no demonstrable issues with troop readiness or unit cohesion it’s reasonable to assume – and expect – that affording equal treatment to transgender individuals would have exactly the same net effect. It’s a reasonable estimate that there are currently between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender individuals already serving in the Armed Forces. They’re currently forced to dress, act, and perform in a manner inconsistent with their identity because of rules that were implemented and enforced long before the struggle for equality gained traction. Now that we’ve come to a better understanding of these individuals we’re seeing that these rules no longer reflect reality and are discriminatory and, because we’re a progressive and inclusive society, we’re repealing them. It’s the right move.
How would it be beneficial to a volunteer organization to disqualify volunteers based on outdated views of gender norms? What good is it doing our country to tell some of its citizens that they’re not qualified to do a job and defend *their* country simply because we don’t understand how they think and feel? From what rational, scientific reasoning have these rules spawned in the first place?
On the topic of gender reassignment surgery issue, I find the complete lack of basis disturbing. As a taxpayer in this country you’re already paying for service members’ families’ fertility treatment, births, vasectomies, tubal ligations, and – if you want an example of unnecessary, voluntary procedures – circumcisions. It goes without saying that a volunteer force funded by the government providing a service that you wouldn’t be able to provide (or want to do) yourself is owed the support of the people benefiting from their service. It’s unfortunate that people make a distinction on these services based on what they feel is “yucky.” That aside, we can all be glad that this country isn’t run by a single person’s view of what is acceptable or tolerable. We can all be glad that a Democratic Republic protects the individual from mob rule.
The care of veterans is a wholly separate issue. Government chooses to prioritize and fund programs and they’ve unfortunately underfunded veterans’ services. We should definitely be taking better care of the people who have made sacrifices for this country but there’s no logical correlation between the cost of transgender healthcare and the Veterans Administration. Even if you denied all medical services to transgender service members you still wouldn’t have the funding for veterans because the government budget wouldn’t allow it. If you’re truly concerned about veterans you could always write, call, e-mail, or visit your Congresspersons and lobby for change. Posting ill-informed rants on Facebook will never help veterans, guaranteed.
For someone who has clearly looked and felt female for her entire life it’s difficult to understand how a transgender person feels about their identity but it’s a horrible mistake to dismiss it as “disgusting” or “wrong.” Due diligence has been done and we now know that classifying transgender people as mentally ill or incompetent is wrong. For the transgender individuals already serving, this is a great leap forward in social policy and equality. For everyone else, this is an opportunity to critically evaluate your views on something you know little to nothing about and try to understand that what the LGBT community is going through now is similar (though not identical) to the struggle of women and African Americans in the not-too-distant past and even now. Instead of casting aspersions you could simply realize that and have a little more compassion and respect for your fellow Americans than what a poorly-thought-out Facebook post affords.
As usual, if you’re religious and you’re reading this I’d love to hear your rebuttals. If you’re irreligious and you’ve seen some gems and would like to pass them along, please send them to me and I’ll discuss them in future installments. Until next time, this has been Facebook Affirmations™!
Jon Willis grew up in a strict Protestant Christian family. It took 20 years to finally see the light of reason. Now, Jon authors the Wayward Willis blog and hosts the Wayward Willis podcast with his two sons.