An open letter to Donald Trump from the father of a transgender soldier

Dear President Trump:

I heard, with great dismay and shock, your decision to bar transgender men and women from serving in our military forces.  In a series of Twitter posts yesterday, you stated that transgender soldiers were a “distraction” to the military.

These were your words, as posted yesterday on your official Twitter account.

At which point, you basically denigrated the service and patriotism of thousands of men and women who proudly serve and have served in our Armed Forces.

And in that very moment, you also slapped the faces of millions of parents and brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of these soldiers and sailors and Marines and protectors.

Including me.

Let me explain.

My son Kris served in the Army National Guard for several years.  Kris served with distinction and honor during his time in the service.  I should note that Kris is part of the “T” in the LGBTQ population, yet being transgender never stopped him from serving and carrying out his duties in the military.

So why, all of a sudden, are you, the Commander-in-Chief, suddenly denigrating and denying the right for these men and women to serve in an all-volunteer military?  Why are you blocking their rights to protect our nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic?

In your tweets, you state two factors for your decision – “medical costs” and “disruption.”  Is a soldier not allowed to receive comprehensive medical coverage and care through the many VA hospitals that exist today?  Or is it that you feel that such things as gender reassignment surgery and the like are considered too “elective” for VA doctors and specialists to perform?

And as for “disruption,” are you really going back to that homophobic and spurious conceit that those in the LGBTQ community are perverts and deviants, and if they get near you or (God forbid) touch you, then you’ll become a pervert and a deviant as well?


Okay.  First of all, being transgender in the military does not mean you’re a man who walks around the compound in a dress and pearl earrings, hoping to get a Section 8 to transfer Stateside and away from the war.  And being transgender does not mean that, in the middle of a battle, someone’s going to strap on some fishnet stockings and a bustier and want to perform the Time Warp in a foxhole.

You know what a transgender person in the Army is really called?  They’re called soldiers.  They volunteered to protect their nation and to serve it with honor and with distinction.   They’re not “trans soldiers” or “gay soldiers” or “straight soldiers.”  They’re specialists and sergeants and corporals and majors.  That’s who they really are.

Of course, it’s one thing to deny those in the LGBTQ population their right to serve.  But to make these statements and claims AFTER pandering and begging for their votes is both hypocritical and duplicitous.

They’re good enough to vote for you, but not good enough to fight for this country?

What kind of message are you really sending to America?  That it’s okay to reinforce old, stale, filthy stereotypes?

There is already enough homophobia and bigotry and denigration in our society – not just against those in the LGBTQ population, but also their straight allies.  Such prejudice and narrow-mindedness needs to stop and it needs to stop now.

As a nation, we still evolve and grow and learn from our earliest ignorance and prejudice.  Actions like yours show that we still have a long, long way to travel, both as a nation and as a culture.

Perhaps you’ll read this letter.  Or maybe you won’t.

But just know that I’m proud of my child and his accomplishments in the Army National Guard – both before and during his period of transition.

And President Trump, for someone who claims to be a supporter of LGBTQ rights and needs …

Your “support” is sorely lacking.  And what little support you have is shamefully and woefully inadequate.

I beg you to please reconsider your decision and allow all United States citizens who choose to participate in our Armed Forces – no matter their sexual orientation or delineation – to serve our nation with dignity and with respect.

Thank you.