Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) really doesn’t like transgender people and she really, really doesn’t want them serving in the military.
You may remember that a year ago, the Pentagon gave the green light for trans men and women to serve. After all, letting gays and lesbians serve openly didn’t destroy America’s military might despite dire predictions by idiots, so why block trans service members based on those same idiots’ objections?
But that was under a legitimate President. Now that we have Trump, the anti-LGBTQ right is pushing back against previous gains. While they certainly don’t want gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the military, they currently have their sights set on trans men and women.
During a June 28 House Armed Services Committee meeting, Hartzler proposed and then withdrew an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would essentially boot all trans service members from the military. Why bother proposing this measure only to withdraw it? Hartzler wanted to make it clear that if the Pentagon doesn’t deal with ousting trans service members, then Congress is waiting in the wings to do it.
According to Hartzler, transgender people are incapable of serving and should be disqualified the same as someone “with less complicated conditions like flat feet, bunions, asthma and sleepwalking.”
And then she brings up showers, of course.
“Is it fair to recruit our sons and daughters to fight for the nation and – instead of being able to focus on the enemy – subjecting them to disturbing distractions of very personal privacy issue involving sleeping and showering with individuals born of the opposite sex?” she asks.
First of all, trans people are also “sons and daughters,” thank you very much. And if someone can’t cope with showering and bunking with other people, do we really want to give them a gun and train them to kill people?
During a June 29 interview with the Family Research Council, Hartzler reiterated her disdain for trans people, calling them “a threat to national defense.”
“At a time when we should be focusing on the threats from North Korea, and Putin, and ISIS, we’re having to deal with a threat here at home, a domestic threat , of allowing transgenders [SIC] in our service,” she said, apparently unaware and no doubt unconcerned that “transgenders” isn’t a word.
I’m certainly glad she sees Putin as a threat since many of her Republican pals don’t, but it sure is hard to buy that she’s truly focused on actual threats when she puts trans service members in the same category as ISIS.
Needless to say, Hartzler was very happy when Defense Secretary James Mattis announced a six-month delay on the military’s trans members policy.
“The Obama transgender policy, which was implemented without input from Members of Congress, is ill-conceived,” she said in a July 3 statement. “This delay is indicative of a policy that was rushed and never clearly thought out, and I am pleased that Secretary Mattis has decided to delay the accession policy. It is my hope that he will move forward with full repeal in the coming months.”
Mattis has apparently said that “full repeal” isn’t going to happen. But we shall see. After all, the Republicans need a “win” and fighting trans service members is a lot easier than fighting ISIS.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.