Erick Erickson seems pretty confused about LGBTQ people in the military

By recognizing that trans people already serve in the armed forces Obama is ... socially engineering? Or something?

Published September 5, 2014 8:31PM (EDT)

 Erick Erickson (Credit: Fox News) (Fox News)
Erick Erickson (Credit: Fox News) (Fox News)

Erick Erickson is filling in for Rush Limbaugh while Rush Limbaugh is away on a restorative yoga retreat (probably), and he has some mad feelings about President Obama and the military.

President Obama has apparently turned the military into a "weird social experiment" because of a recent report on transgender soldiers? Or something?

The thing about the outrage over the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the lift of the ban on women in combat and the renewed push to allow trans soldiers to serve openly is that women already served in combat roles and LGBTQ people have long been service members. What is changing, for the better, is the open recognition of that service.

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed in 2010, and the process of opening all combat positions to women is ongoing. But trans soldiers are still vulnerable to being dismissed for no other reason than because they are trans. That may be changing, but it's long overdue. “I do think it continually should be reviewed,” Chuck Hagel said in a recent interview with ABC News about the longstanding ban on trans soldiers serving openly. “I’m open to that.”

A recent commission on the military's policies on trans soldiers found that there was no “compelling medical rationale” for the ban. And according to an estimate from the University of California Los Angeles's Williams Institute, there are nearly 15,500 transgender individuals currently serving in the military. So trans soldiers are already serving, but the current ban prevents them from doing so openly and with fair access to healthcare.

Recent gains in inclusivity, and the work that's being done to lift the ban on trans soldiers serving openly, aren't a "weird social experiment." They are the beginning of a process of recognizing the military we already have.

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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