Moira Snyder, Contributing Writer
Last week, the Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban to go into effect. The president’s order, which prevents most transgender people from serving in the military, will financially ruin the lives of transgender service members.
Transgender service members are brave for putting their life on the line for a country that continues to invalidate their identity. By outlawing them from serving, the government is telling a group of people there must be restrictions in place to make others comfortable.
The order has a few exceptions. But those attempting to transition or who plan to serve openly after doing so risk being discharged.
For transgender people, it is already difficult to get a steady job, let alone one that allows them to be open about their identity. A 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that in the year alone, 16 percent of transgender people had lost their jobs, while 30 percent were terminated or denied a promotion. Fifteen percent of transgender people face verbal, physical and sexual harassment and assault in their workplace environment, according to the survey.
The U.S. military is the largest employer in the country. According to the National Center for Transgender for Equality, transgender people are twice as likely to serve in the military than the general population. Since June 2016, transgender military personnel have served openly, some even in combat zones.
There are more than 130,000 transgender veterans in the U.S. and over 15,000 people are currently serving. Under Trump, thousands of transgender service members could lose a job, putting them at risk of experiencing homeless — something the veteran population is already vulnerable to.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that nearly 40,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. A 2014 report from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council reports one in five transgender people have unstable housing or are in need of shelter services.
Ignorance and bias surrounding transgender folks have resulted in such negative treatment that has led to unemployment, homelessness and poverty for the transgender community. The president’s executive order only increases this and validates transphobic ideology.
In 1948, discrimination “on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin” in the U.S. Armed Forces was outlawed. In 2011, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” an 18-year-long ban on openly gay and lesbian service personnel was revoked. For all the progress we’ve made, we seem to be taking several steps back.
This transphobic discrimination is stripping the military’s needed talent that these service members provide, as well as denying structured and secure careers for more than 15,000 transgender people.