Monday, January 25, 2021

Do not forget the lies and liars who made Trump's trans military ban a reality

There are times when the LGBTQ community gain a victory, we don't wrap up loose ends. This generally puts us in a situation where we find ourselves in a new battle with the same forces we defeated before. Then we busy ourselves wondering how we can combat their techniques this time while forgetting that they were same techniques used against us in the last fight.

The recent situation regarding Biden's repeal of Trump's ban on transgender troops is a good example of what I'm talking about. Now when Trump announced the ban, he claimed that he consulted with his military leaders. But this turned out to be a lie. They too were caught by surprise. 

In that same month, America learned that the ban did not come about from genuine concern about the military. It actually came from the minds of the anti-LGBTQ industry with assistance from former Vice President Mike Pence.

According to LGBTQnation:

Multiple sources are saying that Mike Pence – along with some anti-LGBTQ activists – wrote the report behind Donald Trump’s new transgender military ban. The White House released a plan on Friday night to purge transgender people from the military, which revoked the previous transgender military ban that was announced last year. 

 Accompanying the new plan was a memo signed by Defense Secretary James Mattis and a report from the Department of Defense. Multiple sources told Slate that Mike Pence “played a leading role in the creation of this report,” along with anti-transgender activists Ryan Anderson and Tony Perkins. 

Anderson works at the right wing Heritage Foundation and recently wrote When Harry Became Sally, a book that claims that being transgender is a mental illness based on the narratives of “ex-transgender” people. Perkins works for the Family Research Council, an SPLC designated hate group. Another source told Think Progress that the report was a product of a “working group” led by Pence that produced a report with different conclusions from Mattis’s committee report. The source said that Pence “overruled” Mattis’s report, but did not explain exactly what that meant.

Pence created the committee to justify banning trans troops and it was comprised of people whose brand was the undermining or the eliminating of LGBTQ rights. Not only that, but information which they have cited in the past in pursuit of this goal have either been called out for being distorted or flat out wrong.

According to ThinkProgress, Anderson was called out by four people he cited in his book, When Harry Became Sally, for distorting their stories.  Another article by ThinkProgress gives a long list of reasons why Anderson's book actually "exposes the weaknesses and contradictions in his own argument."

Tony Perkins (and his group the Family Research Council) have been deemed a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center because they "often makes false claims about the LGBTQ community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBTQ people as the organization battles against same-sex marriage, hate crime laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy."

On a personal level, I have written extensively about FRC's tendency to either outright lie or distort legitimate science in pursuit of denigrating LGBTQ people.

What's more, even as a part of Pence's committee, the habits of distorting science continued with these individuals. LGBTQnation pointed out the committee's report inaccurately cited a Swedish study to make a claim about suicide and transitioning in the transgender community.

My point is this -  let's celebrate the fact that Biden appealed Trump's ban. But don't be so eager to celebrate that you forget the facts about how Trump's ban came about. While the ban itself may be gone, the people and the groups who pushed the ban are still here. They remain to interject themselves in new battles  against LGBTQ equality and safety in which they will exploit the same lies and techniques they used to justify the trans ban.

They are one-trick ponies. The problem is we continue to be scared by that one trick in each fight they initiate against us.

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