Recently, during President Donald Trump’s hour-long tirade disguised as a campaign rally, Trump berated numerous NFL players as “sons of bitches.” Trump accused them of desecrating the American flag by kneeling during the national anthem to bring attention to police brutality and unequal treatment of African Americans. Ironically, it is Donald Trump who knows more than anyone else about trampling a flag. True disrespect is not peacefully-protesting for a fairer America; it’s holding high the flag of a community and then fighting every day against their basic rights.

Perhaps the most heinous action taken thus far in this administration’s crusade against the LGBTQ+ community is President Trump’s ban on transgender military service members — which he unexpectedly announced in an early-morning tweet.

This new policy was not only condemned by the majority of past and present military leaders, but was even opposed by the majority of citizens of every U.S. state. Trump’s order was not only based in transphobia, but misinformation. Trump cited the “tremendous medical costs” of gender-transition related medical treatment as a primary reason for the ban. However, these costs — approximately $5 million annually— pale in comparison to the $84 million per year spent by US taxpayers on military members’ erectile dysfunction medication. I suppose it’s more important to this president that men can get it up than that our soldiers live as their true selves.

Thousands of transgender Americans valiantly and successfully serve in our armed forces every day, and countless more have done so in previous decades. These individuals deserve our utmost respect and admiration, not denigration. Having a five-time Vietnam War draft-dodger deny a group of Americans the chance to defend their country is the utmost form of hypocrisy.

Federal government should be stepping up for transgender rights, not backing downEditor’s note: This letter is in response to The Badger Herald’s opinion associate Aly Niehans’ Feb. 23 column. After reading Aly Read…

Unfortunately, this administration’s attacks on the transgender community haven’t stopped there. During the 2016 presidential primaries, Donald Trump surprised many when he said Caitlyn Jenner or other trans individuals should be able to use whichever bathroom they prefer. However, as soon as Trump entered office, he quickly flushed away his support of trans bathroom rights and instead caved to religious conservatives. In February, Trump issued an executive order reversing Obama-era protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. This means students could be forced into the uncomfortable situation of using a bathroom that aligns with their sex at birth instead of the gender they identify as and present themselves. This action makes trans students more susceptible to harassment and will undoubtedly make this vulnerable group of students feel more unsafe in their schools.

But it doesn’t stop there. Over the summer, Trump’s Department of Justice argued in court that workplace discrimination laws covering race or gender should not be extended to LGBTQ+ individuals, taking the stance that it should be legal to fire an employee because of his or her sexual orientation. Is being fired because you’re gay really how you Make America Great Again?

Furthermore, the appointment of conservative justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court puts the status of countless LGBTQ+ families in constant jeopardy. At any time, the resignation or death of a liberal-leaning judge followed by the return of a same-sex marriage case could lead the Supreme Court to overturn the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that made gay marriage legal across the United States.

Transgender students face added pressures pursuing higher education while UW organizations look to helpFor James Van Able, being transgender on a University of Wisconsin System campus means questioning day-to-day actions like using the Read…

These policies undoubtedly have an effect on the lives of LGBT students. While LGBTQ+ students already worry about threats of bullying, anti-LGBTQ+ governmental policies can sometimes lead homophobic individuals to believe that harassment is acceptable or that LGBTQ+ students aren’t worthy of being treated like other students. Furthermore, the enactment of anti-LGBTQ+ policies can lead these students to have higher rates of mental-health problems, depression, and addiction. Luckily, the LGBT Campus Center at the Red Gym offers discussion groups, community events, and support to welcome and assist LGBTQ+ students at UW. Even better, the 2018 and 2020 elections provide an opportunity to reverse course and fight back.

When Donald Trump ran for president, he promised to be a different kind of Republican. Trump was the first Republican to include the LGBTQ+ community in a GOP convention speech, offering to “protect” them from extremist violence. The reality is that the biggest threat to the everyday lives of America’s LGBTQ+ community comes not from ISIS or foreign extremists, but from the Oval Office. Words are meaningless when they’re not followed by actions. To President Trump, protesting to bring attention to racial inequality might seem like trampling the American flag, but to truly disrespect a flag is to hold it in your arms and then fight to shatter the lives of the communities it represents.

David Weinberg ([email protected]) is a sophomore deciding between political science, finance and journalism.