I’m a pretty disappointed in Harvard College Democrats. From the Harvard Crimson‘s Dems Open to ROTC Return:

Members of the Harvard College Democrats gathered last night to discuss whether the exclusion of trans-identified individuals from the military should prevent the return of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program to campus. Though the organization did not take a formal vote on the matter, those who spoke at the meeting by and large said that ROTC should be welcomed back to Harvard, despite objections over trans exclusion.

Given the National Center For Transgender Equality (NCTE), the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA – position statement here), and the school’s own Harvard Trans Task Force being against ROTC programs returning to the university campus — where colleges and universities, such as Harvard, have antidiscrimination policies that include gender identity — to many trans people that decision would be definitely appear wrongheaded. No doubt a vote favoring the return of an ROTC program at Harvard would be on the wrong side of history — as much as the 1993 congressional Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell vote was on the wrong side of history.

Citing a transgender person he knows at Harvard who was disqualified from joining the military because of his sexual identity, Jia Hui Lee ’12, a presenter from Harvard Trans Task Force, told the members about an ongoing petition reaffirming Harvard’s commitment to non-discrimination policy regardless of an individual’s gender identity.

According to Lee, other countries in the world, including Thailand and Australia, allow transgender individuals to join the military.

And even minus the trans issue, there is the matter of the Pentagon not planning on including an antidiscrimination policy when lesbian, gay, and bisexual members are allowed to serve openly, and that the same-sex partners of lesbian, gay, and bisexual servicemembers will be not eligable for any benefits from the military — as the married spouses of heterosexual couples will be — are reason enough to to approve of ROTC return to college campuses.

And too, the vote would be very premature: lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are still not allowed as yet to serve openly.

If the Harvard College Democrats vote to come on the wrong, antitransgender and anti-LGB equality side of this issue, there will no doubt be consequences for that official position.

Bad, bad, bad. Harvard College Democrats, don’t do it.

Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen