Facing Military Reality



It’s official: Transgender people will serve openly in the US armed forces. While this can be considered a step forward toward full acceptance and protection of transgender people in our culture and human rights in general, we are still very, very far from that. On top of that, it’s still important to remember that our armed services only “further the violence of one of the central institutions of global oppression.”

Yesterday’s excellent Op-Ed at Truth-Out.org, “Transgender Troops” Should Be An Oxymoron, is required reading for every LGBT activist because it pinpoints the cause of the right-wing shift of our biggest advocacy organizations, all of which predictably hailed this new open service announcement without reservation.

To avoid hypocrisy, ending war, loathing war (and poverty and racism) must be equal pillars in anyone’s work to deliver human rights, especially among those fighting LGBT discrimination. While supporting all those currently serving or who want to serve in the military may be noble, war is always ignoble and we can’t bury this fact in our platforms and goals. 

War is an environmental disaster of such epic proportions it becomes easy to set aside but it won’t go away just by wishing. Our military at its core is a super-big jobs program and sometimes the only job choice left for poor or otherwise disenfranchised young people. Want a college education? Let me show a good percentage of of you to your body bag or life-long disability or disabilities. As such, the military is a coercive system that must be transformed to something humane and voluntary, a sort of a green army, an agency of philanthropic diplomacy there to heal disasters and environmental catastrophes globally. Our future depends on this change and LGBT people can lead the way. (Our manifesto offers more details on how these transformations of systems occur.)


Alison Gardner