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Following a few days of political discord between the U.S. and Iran, many online have been joking about hypothetically being drafted into “World War III.”
The possible war has been the top trend on Twitter ever since the new decade broke. On Friday, President Donald Trump authorized an airstrike on Iran, which killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
Since then, tensions between the two have risen dramatically, with many on both sides and around the world fearing the start of a possible war. In response, users on Twitter have begun posting memes about evading the possible war.
In the midst of the memes and fear, James Charles, a cisgender white man, joked about how he would dress up as a woman to evade the draft.
me when the government comes knocking on my door for the draft pic.twitter.com/gitX4Q1qHi— James Charles (@jamescharles) January 3, 2020
Many online saw Charles’ tweet as him pretending to be transgender in order to avoid being drafted. In the U.S., transgender people are not allowed to serve in the military.
“This is disgustingly transphobic but honestly not unexpected from the notable transphobic and kinda racist james charles not to mention there is not a draft there wont be a draft and making light of the transgender ban in and of it self (although i object to serving) sucks,” Twitter user @pitzx2 wrote.
this is disgustingly transphobic but honestly not unexpected from the notable transphobic and kinda racist james charles— TIME FOR MY HISSATSU (final attack) PART 6 (@pitzx2) January 3, 2020
not to mention there is not a draft
there wont be a draft
and making light of the transgender ban in and of it self (although i object to serving) sucks pic.twitter.com/7sSbpAewLm
a cis male using the trans military ban as a joke just doesn’t sit right with me at all... https://t.co/atvLBUPx2o— prod. SUGA (@dionyoons) January 3, 2020
Others pointed out that “trans women get killed for purely existing,” and it was wrong of Charles to joke about “posing as a minority that gets killed daily for a meme.”
“And ur out here being all ‘I am going to dress as a woman to avoid being drafted even though I am a cis white gay’ cut the shit james.” Twitter user @hcbliam wrote.
trans women get killed for purely existing and ur out here being all 😁😁😁😁😁I am going to dress as a woman to avoid being drafted even though I am a cis white gay 😂😂😂😂😂 cut the shit james— liam (@hcbliam) January 3, 2020
posing as a minority that gets killed daily for a meme. wow.— Alexei | Rudy Wade love bot| QUEEN IN FEB (@80sjoaquin) January 3, 2020
After receiving backlash, Charles said the tweet had “nothing to do with the trans military ban” and that it was simply a “lighthearted joke.”
just to clarify, this tweet has nothing to do with the trans military ban, which I obviously do not support. it’s a lighthearted joke regarding the fact that I had to register for the draft when I turned 18, just like every other boy, & i don’t wanna fight in a war. that’s all— James Charles (@jamescharles) January 4, 2020
The latest controversy comes just days after Charles was accused of using the N-word on a New Year’s Eve Instagram Live. He responded to criticism by saying it would be “stupid” to record a video saying the word and then keep the post online.
“No? turn up the volume & listen, I skip over it. how stupid would I have to be to confidently record a video of me singing the n word and still have it up the next morning,” he wrote in response to a user asking if he had used the word.
no? turn up the volume & listen, I skip over it. how stupid would I have to be to confidently record a video of me singing the n word and still have it up the next morning— James Charles (@jamescharles) January 1, 2020
Dominic-Madori Davis is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California. She covers the internet, politics, and social issues.