The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Opinion | Baseless fear has caused unnecessary hate

Upon critical examination, it’s hard to understand why there is still a massive opposition to the rights and even the existence of LGBTQ+ people
Cody Blissett
Iowa City residents gather during the 2023 Pride Parade & Festival in downtown Iowa City on Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Hate is a heavy burden to carry, especially when it is not based on anything reasonable.

On Friday, former vice president and 2024 presidential candidate Mike Pence called to reinstate the Trump administration policy that bans transgender Americans from serving in the military, receiving much applause. Pence stated that he believes allowing transgender personnel “erodes unit cohesion in a very unique way.” He also said he believes it negatively impacts recruitment.

Pence’s argument against transgender people in the military can be completely dismantled by a simple question: Why?

The right-wing hatred of transgender, and LGBTQ+ people in general, is entirely amorphous. Their hatred is purely based in fear of what they don’t know or what they see as different, and they see it as different because their fear made it a taboo subject. It is a vicious cycle that has led to the centuries-long oppression of LGBTQ+ people.

Conservatives may claim it is due to religious preferences. Whether or not that is actually consistent with their religion is up for debate, but either way, any law that is passed in any case cannot use any religion’s principles as its basis, as it is a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

They may claim they are trying to protect children, but we have known for decades that gay men are not more likely to be pedophiles. This again is just something that conservatives cling to without evidence because if they think they are simply protecting children, then they must be right.

They may even claim that the science is on their side, making arguments that homosexual relationships are unnatural or that sex and gender are the same thing, and gender cannot be changed. Once again, we know that homosexuality and bisexuality is not a social construct because homosexual behavior has been documented in hundreds of species of animals.

Despite what many people learned growing up — including myself — sex and gender are not the same thing, and gender is a fluid social construct. An extremely widespread misunderstanding has led to a disheartening and completely unnecessary amount of hate toward the LGBTQ+ community.

In the case of transgender people in the military, Pence gave no real evidence as to why he believes transgender people are a burden on the military. Sure, he thinks they’re hurting recruitment or compromising unit cohesion, but that is not something he or anyone has proved. Once again, it’s just fear.

Mike Pence thinks that the military that has more funding than China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, India, the United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Japan, Germany, and Ukraine combined is seriously threatened by the 0.0051 percent of military personnel who may be transgender and who just want to serve like any other soldier.

Furthermore, allowing transgender people to serve would have “little to no impact on unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness,” according to the Rand Corporation.

At the end of the day, the right-wing opposition to progressive gender identity policies and laws is not based in science, logic, or anything reasonable. It is purely based on an unwillingness to accept change and difference.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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About the Contributors
Evan Weidl
Evan Weidl, Opinions Editor
Evan Weidl is a senior majoring in political science. He previously worked in the opinions section as a columnist.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.