Scoundrel Time

Supporting Transgender Rights

Ted Eytan

It’s been a roller coaster of a week. In a matter of days, we’ve gone from celebrating the Affordable Care Act’s survival to fearing its imminent demise—and the loss of insurance for thirty-two million people over the next decade, not to mention the slashing of women’s healthcare provisions and of covered care and services for individuals with disabilities. Call your senators now and let them know how you feel about this inhumane move. The first action step below provides contact information as well as talking points.

In the midst of our distress over the state of healthcare in our country, the President decided to actively attack and dehumanize yet another group of citizens—those who are transgender. This morning he took to his favorite platform, Twitter, to announce, “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” LGBTQ activists and organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and members of Congress—both Democrats and Republicans—swiftly spoke out against the president’s proclamation. Meanwhile, GQ pointed out that the “tremendous medical costs” that Trump pointed to as an excuse for this hateful new policy are roughly equal to four of Trump’s jaunts to Mar a Lago—that’s right, four.

In truth, this is a cruel distraction tactic that demonizes our citizens and creates an internal enemy towards which Trump is attempting to deflect and direct anger and frustration. In the words of Scoundrel Time’s fiction editor Karen E. Bender, “Scapegoat theory is when people seek out others to blame for their problems. It happened in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, when Hitler blamed the Jews for the country’s economic issues, with the Nuremberg laws, systematically excluding Jews from schools, prohibiting intermarriage, banning Jewish officers from the military, etc. By targeting a smaller group, the nation was able to direct Germans’ general feelings of frustration and aggression toward the Jews in Germany and then in Europe. 45 is doing just this—he is scapegoating transgender people, targeting them for no reason but pure prejudice…. By not allowing transgender people to serve in the military, 45 is attempting to dehumanize this group. This is the country you live in. No group should be targeted for any reason, and when one group is targeted, it’s up to all of us to stand up against it.”

Indeed, Trump has been working quietly yet steadily throughout his presidency to target and undermine the rights of transgender individuals. On day one of his presidency, all LGBTQ content disappeared from the Department of State and White House websites. In February, his administration wiped out bathroom protections for transgender students in public schools, and in March Trump signed an executive order that removed key components preventing federal contractors from discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or identity. Also in March, the Census Bureau quickly deleted its proposal to ask about respondents’ gender identity or sexual orientation on the 2020 survey, effectively erasing the needs and existence of these individuals. As Praveen Fernandes explains in a New York Times Op-Ed, “Failing to collect good data on sexual orientation and gender identity allows policy makers and elected officials to hold the utterly false belief that no L.G.B.T. people use their services and that no L.G.B.T. people live in their electoral districts. It robs policy makers of the ability to understand us and it makes evidence-based policy more difficult. It puts L.G.B.T. Americans as a group back into the closet.”

We cannot allow any of our citizens—especially those who are willing to risk their lives in order to protect our country—to be stripped of their rights and their humanity. We must speak out and fight back.


1) Defend the ACA!

  • Use this tool from Indivisible to contact constituents in West Virginia and Nevada, make sure they know why we need to save the ACA, and ask them to contact their Senators.
  • Contact your senators and ask them to vote NO on votes to repeal the ACA.
  • Talking Points (from The Loyal Opposition):
    • This is [NAME] and I’m a constituent in [ZIP].
    • [IMPORTANT] Describe how the repeal of the ACA would personally impact you, your friends, or your family.
    • [Democrat senators] Repeal of the ACA or a replacement anything like the ones we’ve seen is a potential death sentence for sick and vulnerable Americans. Please use every tactic available to defeat the bill.
    • [Republican senators] It is absurd to repeal or enact a replacement that impacts the lives of all Americans and affects a sixth of our economy without hearings.
    • [Republican senators] Repeal alone or with a replacement anything like the ones we’ve seen is a tax cut for the wealthy and a potential death sentence for sick and vulnerable Americans. It is wrong for America and its values.

2) Text “OUR TROOPS” to 30644 and demand Trump immediately support transgender service members. (From the Human Rights Campaign)

3) Report discrimination, harassment, and/or mistreatment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

4) Sign this petition and join in the ACLU’s fight to protect trans rights and show up for trans youth.

5) Tell the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to reverse its decision around HB2. (From the National LGBTQ Task Force)

“Last year when the North Carolina legislature passed HB 2—a bill targeting transgender people, minimum wage workers, and other protected minorities—the NCAA took a position against this discriminatory law by announcing they’d relocate their 2016-2017 championship games outside of North Carolina. As a result of the NCAA’s position, the North Carolina legislature recently passed a law they claimed was a repeal of HB2, HB142, and NCAA announced they’d consider hosting championship games in North Carolina. But HB142 is not a repeal; it’s just discrimination by another name.”

6) Sign this petition to stop Trump’s erasure of LGBTQ elders and LGBTQ people with disabilities. (From the National LGBTQ Task Force)

“The Trump Administration has decided to stop counting LGBTQ people with disabilities and LGBTQ older Americans in two surveys that help the government decide how to spend federal dollars: the National Survey on Older Americans Act Participants and the Centers for Independent Living Annual Performance Report. Please sign our petition to demand that LGBTQ people with disabilities and LGBTQ elders are not erased from these surveys.”

7) Tell Trump: Discrimination Against Trans and Gender-Nonconforming Students is Wrong. (From the National LGBTQ Task Force)

“We believe all students deserve a safe and affirming learning environment in school, including trans and gender-nonconforming students. Please join us in sending a message to Trump that you are disappointed that he rescinded the federal guidance to public schools that made it clear that Title IX non-discrimination protections apply to gender identity.”

8) Donate to support transgender servicemembers and organizations fighting for transgender rights:

9) If you are cisgender, read this: “To the cis person angrily sharing news of the Trump transgender military ban

An excerpt: “The more people that take up this work to be better, the more people that truly support trans equality and justice = the less transphobia, transantagonism, and anti-trans laws and policies will come into our world. Until they are squashed for good.”