President Trump’s nomination of Mark Green — a Republican Senator from Tennessee — for Secretary of the Army might be one of his most controversial yet.
A number of activists have spoken out against the nomination, citing Green’s history of pushing highly conservative bills that discriminate against women and LGBT individuals. Slate even referred to him as a “stealth anti-LGBTQ extremist.” While all objections are relevant, the most recent objection to Green’s nomination might also be one of the most powerful, as it comes from a transgender veteran.
Retired Colonel Sheri Swokowski recently wrote an article for The Washington Post detailing her many reasons for being troubled by the thought of Green as Army secretary.
Swokowski first explained that she is a transgender veteran who, unlike Green, “was forced to serve in silence.”
‘As a transgender member of the military, I hid my authentic self for decades to continue serving the country I love. Unlike Green, I was forced to serve in silence the entire time, but I won’t be silent now.’
She then went on to say that, while she respects the fact that Green served as an Army flight surgeon during the Iraq War, she cannot condone the “disrespect” and “bigotry” that he has “shown over and over toward the LGBT community.”
‘The bigotry he’s shown over and over toward the LGBT community, including LGBT service members, doesn’t reflect the spirit or direction of the military I know. Rather, his selection reflects poorly on the president and our armed forces. He’s the wrong choice to be Army secretary.’
After listing just a few of Green’s many offenses, Swokowski questioned his recent statement that “politics will have nothing to do” with how he will conduct himself as Army secretary and argued that it will be impossible for him to leave his past politics out of his decision making.
‘Leading the Army requires an appreciation for every individual, without exception, and Green wouldn’t have the confidence of the thousands of LGBT soldiers proudly and openly serving today. Every soldier needs to know that those at the top, uniformed and civilian, have their back. But based on the way he has used anti-LGBT politics to advance his career, that’s not him.’
Swokowski also argued that Green’s politics are “at odds with the Department of Defense, which values its diversity and has been a leading organization in advancing equality.” She cited the Pentagon’s support of ending “don’t ask, don’t tell” long before marriage equality was the law of the land as evidence of this.
An unwillingness to “learn and evolve,” something Green has not been willing to do when it comes to accepting LGBT individuals, will severely hinder the Army, according to Swokowski.
‘As a physician, I suspect Green accepted and incorporated medical advances and new protocols that were in the best interest of his patients. But based on his repeated attacks on the LGBT community, he doesn’t seem capable of evolving and accepting all service members as equals.’
She also said that Trump has “shown his true colors on LGBT issues” by nominating Green, and added that his confirmation would send a dangerous message: “LGBT soldiers are not welcome.”
Swokowski ended her article with a stern message to Green about his past arguments that transgender individuals have a disease.
‘Oh, and Sen. Green, I’m not diseased.’
Learn more about Green’s troubling past in the video below, via YouTube.
Featured image via DEREK HENKLE/AFP/Getty Images.