Why do transgender people join the military in such high numbers? -LA Times

Why do transgender people join the military in such high numbers

“Why do transgender people join the military in such high numbers?”

“flight into hypermasculinity.”

‘trying to prove they were “real men.”‘

“I wanted to prove to myself that I was a man,” 


I don’t know if it’s true that enlistment percentage is higher than the cis population but it wouldn’t surprise me if it is either.

As far as “proving manhood,” and “flight to hypermasculinity,” I thought about joining the military after college but it was never about that. I’ve never cared about my “masculinity” or tried hard to “prove it” to anyone, not even myself.

The most masculine thing I ever did was Taekwando. That was more about my reality than anything else. I practiced martial arts and I learned how to fight for survival, because I felt like I had to, because people kept attacking me when I was a kid. I wanted to be like those Hong Kong movies where the hero so effortlessly dispatched whole groups of opponents with ease and grace. It was actually the dance-like movements I cared about more than the actual fighting. 

I learned how to fight well enough that I could put people down without hurting them or myself. I can’t stand fighting. It makes me an emotional mess. I’d always end up on top of whatever kid thought it was a good idea to pick a fight with me bawling my eyes out a la Ralphie at the end of A Christmas Story. Thank god I was good at it because by middle school people knew not to mess with me anymore. I also learned to bury my fear and accept pain, so any time after that someone got an idea in their head to get up in my face, I’d fucking dare them to with a calm deadpan, and no one ever had the guts to follow through.

But that was never at all about masculinity or any ideas about manhood. I went through all that just to exist.

I wanted to join the army, because I had a death wish. I didn’t have any grounding for my life, I didn’t have any kind of safe space to fall into. I didn’t have any sense of a hopeful future. Life was always an aggressive bugbear to me, ready to pounce at any moment… and all for no good reason that I can think of. What, growing up in a nice middle class neighborhood near Washington DC not good enough for you? That rough life of always having plenty to eat and never having to worry about was tough? Was your mommy just too mean to you when you were wittle? Who knows. Honestly, I don’t know why but it was always that way and it prevented me from having anything good in my life, relationships, jobs, sense of purpose and well being…

That much hasn’t changed either and I’m getting really tired of living with this mind if I’m honest. It’s hijacked everything that ever gave me the least bit of peace and makes it impossible to make proper decisions because my emotions are all out of wack. I’m finding that’s fairly common among trans folk, at least in my generation and younger. (So maybe that’s where it comes from? Or maybe I just hit my head too hard one time?? I don’t know.)
I wanted to join the army because I had a death wish and it seemed like the logical choice. I didn’t join the army because the second Iraq war broke out and that seemed like the worst thing to throw your life away on. And it showed me you can’t trust our politicians to use your service wisely. 

So that’s why I didn’t join. But if I had, it would have been solely to put my life squarely in God’s hands because I didn’t want it anymore. I wanted to do something good with it and I wanted my life to at least mean something to someone.

I was seriously considering still joining. I let the cutoff slide last November for the army but there are still some branches open to me. So, thank you DJT I guess, for the reminder that we still can’t trust our politicians.


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