Marco Rubio Wants To Re-Ban Trans Service Members, Protect Military From Pronouns

I’m currently in Florida visiting my sister and my in-laws who live here for some reason. I mean, I know there are good things about Florida. But this state has elected some exceptionally terrible leaders. The people running the state are, by and large, right-wing extremists who really, really hate LGBTQ+ people.

I mean, for one thing, Florida is the home of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that Gov. Ron DeSantis gleefully signed into law a year ago. Any discussion of sexual orientation or gender in school before the third grade is deemed “inappropriate.” As a result, there are empty school library shelves while books await review by “certified media specialists” lest a book about gender, sexual orientation, or race get past the “woke” police. DeSantis, who is not a certified media specialist as far as I am aware, says that reviewing a book shouldn’t take more than two minutes. ABC News reports that there are over a million books needing review. Reviewing one million books at two minutes each would take 1,389 days. That’s almost four years, and that’s assuming the reviewing is happening around the clock.

Just in case you feared that Florida only had terrible people in the state government, rest assured they have terrible people in the federal government, too.

Case in point: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio. The Florida Republican understands that there are many priorities vying for attention in his home state and in the country as a whole. So he is doing what Republicans do: focusing on something that is not a pressing issue and manufacturing outrage about it — bonus points if it hurts people.

And so Rubio has declared that he wants to re-ban transgender service members. If you recall, disgraced former President Trump banned transgender service members, but President Joe Biden reversed that ban. Rubio wants the ban back. He claims that transgender people are compromising military readiness because… pronouns?

“The military has strict standards for who can and cannot qualify to serve,” Rubio says in a press release. “Biden has turned our military into a woke social experiment. It is a stupid way to go about protecting our nation. We need to spend more time thinking about how to counter threats like China, Russia and North Korea and less time thinking about pronouns.”

Calling the U.S. military, one of the country’s most conservative institutions, “woke” is, well, quite a stretch. Also, “a stupid way to  go about protecting our nation?” Did a 12-year-old write this press release? Also, it’s pretty insulting to everyone in the military to say they’re not thinking enough about how to counter international threats because they’re too preoccupied with pronouns.

In order to save America from the grave danger transgender service members pose, Rubio has introduced the “Ensuring Military Readiness Act” to “ensure all service members’ gender markers match their biological sex.”

The legislation gives the Secretary of Defense a whole 90 days to get rid of all trans service members.

Trans service members can stay on if they’re not, like, too trans and can serve as their biological sex. Anyone who wants or has had gender-affirmation surgery is out for sure, though.

This legislation doesn’t come out of the blue. Rubio put out a recent report titled “Woke Warfighters: How Political Ideology is Weakening America’s Military.” On the cover of the report, there is a camouflaged helmet with rainbow-tipped bullets tucked into the band that reads, “Proud to serve.”

“The DoD’s insistence on promoting individual identity and self-actualization in recruitment and retention efforts, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community, is dangerous,” the report reads. “The appeal to self is corrosive to unit cohesion, yet it is only growing.”

The bill is supported by noted anti-LGBTQ+ groups like Heritage Action, Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America.

“The notion that we can continue prioritizing making our military more ‘woke’ is a specious notion,” says Lieutenant General Boykin of the Family Research Council in Rubio’s press release. “Every decision made by the President and Congress regarding our military should be made with the readiness of our military in mind. What the Senator is proposing would set us on a pathway to spend our time and money preparing for war with not only China but other adversaries that loom on the horizon.”

So not only is this right-wing guy saying that trans folks are bad for the military, he also seems really excited to go to war with China. And “other adversaries.” Yikes.

Pray for peace. And vote out Republicans.

D'Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living life with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter.