— Ryan Narramore, APR (@narramoreryan) July 27, 2017
It all started with a tweet, and fingers haven’t stopped punching buttons ever since.
On Wednesday morning, President Trump delivered another 140-character shocker to the world via his favorite social media outlet. In a three-tweet series, the president announced the “United States Government will not accept or allow … Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.”
If Trump’s aim here was to hijack the national conversation away from the Russia probe or his deteriorating relationship with Attorney General Jeff Sessions — mission accomplished. The administration has offered few details on the trans ban — no concrete policy; no government savings forecasts; no next steps. That lack of concrete information about the president’s intentions has left a vacuum, and outrage and approval from the online gallery has been pouring in.
The transgender movement has found an increasingly larger foothold in the mainstream thanks to celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox. Both chimed in, voicing their disapproval with the measure. Another high-profile transgender woman and military vet, Chelsea Manning, also offered her thoughts. The former U.S. Army soldier pointed to the inherent stupidity of a deep-pocketed military banning transgender soldiers due to budget concerns. Lady Gaga, one of pop culture’s more vocal advocates on gender and sexual equality, also reached for the 140-character-mic to speak her piece.
— Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) July 26, 2017
To all the trans folks currently serving in the military thank you for your service. I am sorry your "commander in chief" doesn't value it.
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) July 26, 2017
so, biggest baddest most $$ military on earth cries about a few trans people but funds the F-35? sounds like cowardice #WeGotThis
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) July 26, 2017
The message you have just sent has endangered the lives of people all over the United States and overseas bravely serving our nation @POTUS
— xoxo, Gaga (@ladygaga) July 26, 2017
The Internet also did not miss the contrast between the values and heroics of transgender members of the military and a president whose own moral compass has been questioned. Both the president’s behavior and his lack of military experience came under fire.
— Cole M. Sprouse (@colesprouse) July 26, 2017
An unexpected feature of the #transban online discussion has been a number of transgender U.S. military veterans coming forward to share their stories of service. Individuals like Carla Lewis, Becca Benz and Shari Zabel now are known to more Americans thanks to the larger platform.
— noah michelson (@noahmichelson) July 27, 2017
— Becca Benz (@missbeccabenz) July 26, 2017
— Scully2017 (@Scully2017) July 27, 2017
thank you for your service. we appreciate you risking your life to protect ours. you'll never be a burden to us. #TransRightsAreHumanRights
— holy moley (@ectvpic) July 26, 2017
Another pervasive theme running through much of the Internet commentary out there was an appeal to common sense. Trump’s own decision, according to his short-burst statement, focused on preventing the burden on the military of the “tremendous medical costs and disruption” caused by the transgender lifestyle. Many Twitter users cut through the moral, economic and logical faultiness of the argument.
But has no problem taking our tax money. pic.twitter.com/Vqy8oCguMq
— Benjamin Di'Costa (@BenjaminDiCosta) July 26, 2017
Late night comedians had their sardonic knives out as well. “The Daily Show” and Stephen Colbert each dropped pithy assessments of the ban, while other early hours programs went further. Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” turned his monologue over to transgender comedian Patti Harrison. And James Cordon launched his broadcast with a musical number aimed at both Trump and those impacted by the ban.
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) July 27, 2017
— Fallon Tonight (@FallonTonight) July 26, 2017
We opened our show tonight with a song about Trumps transgender military ban. https://t.co/Yb7SCrlMDL x
— James Corden (@JKCorden) July 27, 2017
But the real critical kudos belong to our friends up north, specifically the Canadian Forces. When word of Trump’s latest move spread across the world, Canada’s military shot out a reminder that humor and grace are two qualities you’ll fine in abundance over the border.