You wouldn’t expect Secretary of Defense James Mattis to be the type of guy to fight on behalf of trans folks. The big, strong, manly man — or, depending on how you look at him, “tired basset hound” — is in charge of arguably the world’s greatest military, and yet he’s willing to stand up for the little guy.
Mattis reportedly sent a strongly worded letter to President Trump on Friday arguing that he should continue to allow trans people to serve in the U.S. military. The letter, of course, was in response to Trump’s impetuous summer tweet about a trans ban that he wrote while he was on the shitter.
At that time, Trump allegedly gave Mattis six months to figure out what to do with the thousands of trans persons currently serving.
While the White House declined to acknowledge the contents of the letter (they essentially said “it had words in it”), we can still guess what Mattis wrote to Trump based on his past comments.
Mattis has argued before that he would make his decision based on “lethality,” which is a strategic term that means “the ability of a military to kill motherfuckers.” In other words, Mattis believes that if recruiting trans people into the military means that the military will be able to kill more motherfuckers, then obviously the military should just stop being a little bitch about it already and just continue to hire trans members.
Mattis’ argument also happens to echo the feelings of his predecessor, Ash Carter, who said about trans recruits, “The numbers here aren’t large, it’s not like women where it’s half the population, it’s a smaller population but it’s still an important population.” So for Carter, it was also about just making sure the military could be as large and lethal as possible.
Plus, it goes without saying that asking cis men and women to share showers with and sleep next to trans folks is the easiest way to build bridges and take tentative steps to a brighter future.