"I'm queer and I served under Don't Ask, Don't Tell. If you got caught, if someone reported you-- you didn't get a court date, you got a..." tweet thread over transgender flag

Screengrab via SaundraMitchell/Twitter Remix by Jason Reed

This veteran’s takedown of Trump’s military ban on trans people is brutal

'Today's pronouncement from Trump cuts a deeper wound.'


Samantha Grasso


Posted on Jul 26, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 10:41 pm CDT

Early Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender military service members via Twitter, effectively sending the internet, activist organizations, and politicians into a frenzy over the social media-instituted policy.

Some critics of Trump’s message pointed out that his argument—that the military would suffer a financial “burden” from the medical costs of transgender service members—was deeply flawed, as the Department of Defense had already determined that such costs would account for less than half of 1 percent of its healthcare budget.

Others, however, shared their own stories of being active duty service members during “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a policy that, prior to its repeal in 2011, allowed gay armed forces to serve as long as they weren’t openly gay. One Twitter thread from author Saundra Mitchell has gone viral, in which Mitchell explains what it was like being generally discharged from the military for being queer, and what that, in turn, could mean for trans service members targeted by Trump’s pseudo-policy.

Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” this included getting a general discharge, aka being deemed “mentally unfit for service,” and not qualifying for veteran benefits, grants, or scholarships.

Then there is how that status and lack of options impacted your civilian life.

For Mitchell, it seemed the military’s approach and relations with the LGBTQ community had come so far—only to take a million detrimental steps back today.

Since the president tweeted this morning, the Trump administration and Department of Defense haven’t addressed what they will do about the thousands of transgender people already serving in the military. For them, the “unimaginable” could soon become a horrific reality.

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*First Published: Jul 26, 2017, 3:24 pm CDT