Statement on Ban on Transgender People Serving in the Military
The American Ethical Union unequivocally opposes the Supreme Court decision to lift injunctions blocking a policy preventing transgender people serving in the military. This decision demeans trans people, sending the message that they are second class citizens, unworthy of the rights of civil participation others enjoy. There is no evidence that, as the White House claimed, allowing transgender people to serve openly poses “a risk to military effectiveness.” This false argument recalls similar ones made to prevent people of color and lesbian, gay, and bisexual people serving in the military. For all these populations it was once claimed, without evidence, that integration would harm the military-but in each case the true reason was prejudice. The administration’s current policy is based on prejudice also.
The experience of history-and the testimony of relevant military experts-demonstrates that an integrated military which accepts all qualified people without discrimination is more effective in the field of battle. This anti-trans policy is therefore not only discriminatory and unethical but harms the military itself-the very organization it is supposed to benefit. The US military functioned perfectly well for almost three years while following an inclusive policy, demonstrating that the arguments in support of this policy are mere fear-mongering.
The Ethical Humanist Movement has a long history of opposing militarism and the use of military force to solve conflicts. We yearn for a time when nations disarm themselves and collaborate peacefully. But while governments fund and staff armed forces, justice demands that those forces be open to all qualified people who wish to serve. Preventing trans people from serving in the military because they wish to transition is disgraceful, further marginalizing one of the most oppressed communities in the world. Trans people are already subject to horrifying levels of interpersonal violence: the state should not compound that violence by imposing discriminatory policies upon them.
Take Action: The American Ethical Union urges everyone to contact their Congressional Representatives to express opposition to this unjust policy.